Half-Day Chartres Cathedral Day Trip from Paris

Explore the crown jewel of Gothic art and architecture
From US$763 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
4.5 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Cathedral of Chartres
  • Chartres Train Station
Photos & Highlights
  • Spend a day in Chartres Cathedral, accompanied by a local medievalist, architect, or art historian
  • Includes entry to Chartres Cathedral and train transport to/from Paris
Select a date
Tour Description
Discover the Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres on this half-day excursion from Paris in the company of a local medievalist, architect, or art historian. Just over an hour from Paris by train, Chartres Cathedral is an exemplary physical textbook on the Gothic style, known for its exquisite stained glass, labyrinthine floor plan, and extensive exterior carvings. During our exploration of its magnificent interiors and exteriors, we'll use the cathedral as a conduit for exploring not only Gothic architecture, sculpture, and stained glass, but also Medieval religious, secular, and intellectual life. 

Sites Visited 

  • Chartres Cathedral (interior and exterior) 
  • Note that this tour does not include touring Chartres town

Included

  • Train tickets to and from Paris
  • Tickets to Chartres Cathedral

Itinerary Details

Our short journey to Chartres starts from the Montparnasse train station in Paris. On the train, your guide will recount the cathedral's riveting history of reincarnation—most notably, the series of fires that led to at least five different versions of the cathedral over the centuries. Indeed, the bulk of the Cathedral we see today was rebuilt after the crippling fire of 1194, taking only 30 years to complete—a dazzling display of architectural unity for the time.

Home to the Sancta Camisa, a tunic believed to have been worn by the Virgin Mary at the birth of Christ (which miraculously survived the 1194 fire), the Cathedral has long been a destination for pilgrims. Arriving at the cathedral as pilgrims ourselves, we will begin by examining the exterior. Each of the three heavily decorated entrances (west, north, and south) are comprised of three doorways, showing the stylistic transition from Early to High Gothic architecture. Once inside the cathedral, we will marvel at intricate original thirteenth-century stained glass. 

While our half-day tour ends with a guided visit of the cathedral, we encourage you to have lunch or spend the rest of the afternoon visiting the charming town of Chartres and all of its attractions on your own.

This is an excellent excursion to take after our Notre Dame Tour, as it builds on ideas first explored there.

FAQ

What is a private tour?
Our private tours are limited exclusively to travelers in your party. They are designed to provide a learning experience that is completely tailored to you and your traveling companions. Private tours give you more flexibility with scheduling (you decide when the walk best fits your trip), the ability to tailor your itinerary (we'll work to match the itinerary to the interests and dynamics of your group), and more personalized time with your guide.

Where do we meet? Where does it end? 
You'll meet in Paris, at the Montparnasse train station. The tour duration includes the train ride to Chartres with your guide. The tour will end in Chartres. You can then get lunch and explore the town on your own, or return to Paris with your guide. 

What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to be prepared; we encourage keeping an eye on the weather and bringing along an umbrella, sunscreen, water, or a hat as needed. 

Does this excursion include a visit to the town of Chartres? 
No, our half-day tour is a guided visit of the cathedral only; however, we encourage you to have lunch or spend the rest of the afternoon visiting the charming town and all of its attractions on your own. Lunch is not included. 

If I take your Chartres tour in the morning, will I have time for a second tour in Paris that same afternoon? 
We usually take the train back to Paris at 1:34 pm arriving in Paris at 2:30/3 pm. Depending on the day of your tour we have some other tours which start later in the afternoon and may be able to fit your schedule. Please contact us for assistance!

Can I stay after the tour to see Chartres on my own? 
Absolutely. We buy round-trip train tickets for this tour, but the return time is flexible and therefore allows you to return on a later train than that of your guide. 

Is this suitable for children and/or travelers with mobility challenges?
Yes. We can adapt the route of our private tours based on the ages, needs, and interests of travelers in your party. In this particular tour, the terrain is easy. The walk is slightly uphill from the station to the cathedral, and then totally flat. There are no cobblestones. There are, however, certain parts of the cathedral which can be a bit more challenging. Please contact us to know more. 
Where You'll Start
(4.62) 42 Reviews

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We really enjoyed our half day trip from Paris out to Chartres to see it’s wonderful cathedral. Our guide was right on time meeting us at the train terminal, gave us a lot of good background information on the trip out there and then led us in a very informative tour of the cathedral. She recommended a nice place in town for lunch and then accompanied us on the train ride back to Paris. Our guide, Anna, is a professor at the American University in Paris, and was very knowledgeable about the history of the cathedral and the significance of its stained glass windows, sculpture and architecture. She provided us with a lot of interesting information that isn’t found in tour guides.
I enjoyed learning about the story told by Chartres’ sculptures, and seeing how the building came together over time.
Marie-Clare was phenomenal. Just the kind of high level art history expertise we were hoping for. Extraordinarily well prepared with significant expertise.