CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DE CHARTRES

Superlatives abound in this first example of High Gothic architecture, located on the Compostelle route to Tours – 4,000 sculpted statues; 5,000 figures in the medieval stained glass; and the largest crypt in France (third largest in Europe after St Peter’s Basilica and Canterbury Cathedral). On Fridays between Lent and All Saints’ Day, walk the 12th-century circular labyrinth on the floor of the nave. www.cathedrale-chartres.org

CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DE CHARTRES

CHARTRES EN LUMIÈRES

An annual event since 2003, Chartres en Lumières 2019 runs nightly in October, nightfall to 1am. Download the free app or book a specialist tour. ‘Chartres en Lumières Privilège’ includes a visit to the crypt by candlelight and highlights of the illuminated sites. The ‘Enchanté’ tour starts with dinner in a prestigious restaurant, followed by a stroll round the light installations with music by soprano Veronica Antonelli.CHARTRES EN LUMIÈRES

CENTRE INTERNATIONAL DU VITRAIL

The International Stained-Glass Centre, 5 rue du Cardinal Pie, is housed in a former tithe barn. Open daily – for times, see www.centre-vitrail.org – it combines a permanent exhibition upstairs, with temporary exhibitions in one of the most remarkable Gothic cellars in France.

The International Stained-Glass Centre

OLD TOWN TRAIL

Follow one of the five tertres or ‘mounds’, medieval passages that connect the upper town around the cathedral with the lower town beside the Eure where tanners once plied their trade. Admire the many fine buildings including the 16th-century Maison du Saumon, decorated with wooden sculptures and now home to the Tourist Office.

OLD TOWN TRAIL

CHÂTEAU DE MAINTENON

Thirty minutes’ drive northeast of the city, this 16th-century castle in the centre of town opens from early February to mid-November (afternoons only out of season; always closed on Mondays) and hosts a wide range of special events including a spring tulip festival, historical re-enactments, and a glittering Christmas event. www.chateaudemaintenon.fr

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