We arrived in Chartres on a Saturday afternoon. We chose to stay at Le Grand Monarque Best Western in town. We had a larger sized room with a very large bathroom – and a view of the Chartres Cathedral, which was the reason we were in town. The other nice thing to see in our room after seven mornings without one was a coffee pot! It is amazing how much we missed that when it was not in our B&B rooms.
After checking in we made our way to the Cathedral. This Cathedral is world famous for its numerous and beautiful stained glass windows and two very individual spires.
Walking in the Cathedral we were in awe of the beautiful stained glass the surrounds the Cathedral. After touring Notre Dame in Rouen and sites in Normandy our first question was how did all of this delicate stained glass survive WWII bombings? We found the answer in our guidebook – the glass was removed in 1939 before the war and reinstalled after the war. How forward looking and lucky.
We had a one page guide in a tour book that we used as our guide around the Cathedral. It gave a quick explanation of the parables illustrated in each window. We had also brought a small pair of travel binoculars with us to view the stained glass. We took our time walking around the Cathedral and taking in each window. As we walked around we also looked in the side chapels, and saw the relic of Mary’s tunic worn during the birth of Jesus.
They are currently working on cleaning the inside of the Cathedral. The stark difference between the cleaned and uncleaned portions of the Cathedral is quite dramatic. It is amazing to realize how much dust and dirt, and maybe even war debris, builds up not only on the exterior of these important buildings, but also on the inside of them. This work is additionally painstaking due to the intricate level of detail in the carvings throughout the Cathedral.
Both our meals in Chartres were enjoyed at our hotel, which offered traditional French style meals. The breakfast was an abundant breakfast buffet. There was no way we were going to leave that hotel hungry in the morning!
- If staying at a hotel in town be sure to research if parking is included in your room rate. It was not included in our room rate, so was an unexpected add-on fee when we checked in. You’ll also want to ask about breakfast, we had booked a B&B rate, so that was not an add-on for us.
- Bring a small pair of binoculars with you to fully view and appreciate the stained glass windows in the Cathedral