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The Old town of Chartres The best way to visit the ancient streets of Chartres is on foot. A good place to start is the tourist office which is in a Renaissance building with some impressive wall carvings. In the 13th century the then Bishop of Chartres fell out with the count of Chartres. The Bishop enclosed his part of the city around the cathedral and today the place where the entrances once were, are marked in the road such as Porte d’Horloge, the Clock Gate, which is in front of a remarkable16th century 24-hour clock. One of the most interesting buildings is the 13th century Miason Canoniale opposite the cathedral. Look up and you’ll see ornate carvings showing vines, fighting and gambling followed by hell and dragons breathing fire - a sobering message for pilgrims of years gone by to warn them of the dangers of drinking too much! If you’re a fan of Renaissance buildings, you’ll spot plenty in Chartres. You can recognise them by their mushroom shape, smaller at the bottom and spreading out from the 1st floor, an attempt to save money on taxes as owners paid according to how much ground they took up. You can take the little tourist train with an audio guide to see the historic districts from spring to autumn. Take a guided tour via the tourist office or visit with a Greeter, volunteers who are locals who love to share their knowledge of the city they love. www.chartres-greeters.com Chartres Tourist Office 8 Rue de la Poissonnerie Where to eat and drink Locals love: Les Feuillantines is authentic and friendly. The chef creates his own house cocktail, the one I had was of limoncello, sparkling local wine and a lemon liqueur - deliciously decadent... Tea and cake : La Molière, gorgeous gardens in a historic home famous for its 17th century owner, a miser who inspired the famous French playwright Molière to write Le Misor based on the meanie's penny pinching by commissioning a grand house but scrimping on the brick work, hence when you see it today, you may wonder why the lovely local white stone first level is topped with red brick - it was cheaper in the 17th century!
Wine and dine: Michelin starred Le Georges restaurant, the Grand Monarque Hotel. A la carte or tasting menu, the chef’s dishes are innovative and truly delicious. Snack - Maison Monarque in front of cathedral serves a delicious brunch, sandwiches, patisseries and macarons. They also make “le Pèlerin” (the pilgrim). A soft cake with an almond and fruit paste marked on top with a design symbolising the labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral. Awesome aperitifs: L’Academie de la Bière, rock music, buzzy with a feel good atmosphere, it's hipster say the locals, French for a cool, rocking place to go. Bake my day: Head to Maison Ioos for great breads and pastries. Don’t miss the chance to munch on a Mentchikoff! A sweet made of praline chocolate covered with Swiss meringue! Close to the Cathedral at 2bis rue du Soleil d'Or Ice ice baby: Ice cream heaven awaits at La Chocolaterie, hand-made ice cream and macarons! Market day: In the centre of Chartres you’ll find the covered market on Place Billard near the Cathedral. From 7am to 1pm Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the place buzzes as stalls piled high with delicious local produce tempts the locals to buy! On Wednesday evenings there’s an organic market – don’t miss the bread stall, it’s excellent!
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