Like a lighthouse that can be seen from far away, the exceptional Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral attracts you. A masterpiece of Gothic art, it has preserved its 170 prodigious original stained glass windows. Making Chartres the capital of stained glass, which is still perpetuated thanks to the talents of the local craftsmen, who combine modern and traditional techniques and spread their creations all over the world. Then wander through more than 60 hectares of medieval districts. A decor that is transformed every night during Chartres into lights from July to January.
A large number of campsites await you in Eure-et-Loir, including Les Îlots de Saint-Val *** which is located in Villiers-le-Morhier.
Further west, part of the Perche is in the department of Eure-et-Loir, with its manor houses, its longères, its horses in the meadows. You can also visit the area around Nogent-le-Rotrou. The historic districts of the capital of the Perche are organised at the foot of a powerful and spectacular castle. The city also houses the tomb of Sully, the famous minister of Henri IV.
From its flourishing abbey founded in the 12th century, you can still see the Romanesque church, the military college, the themed gardens and the tithe barn in Thiron-Gardais. In the hollow of the neighbouring valley of La Foussarde, admire the variety of styles of the atypical Château de Frazé (15th-18th century).
Via the forest of Senonches, take a walk through the canals, ponds and the immense 60-hectare park of the former castle of La Ferté-Vidame, with its grandiose ruins.
A little further north, the royal valley of the Eure shelters the prestigious estates of the sovereigns' favourites. This is the case with the castle of Diane de Poitiers in Anet. King Henry II's mistress called upon the greatest artists to design this Renaissance pearl.
The Château de Maintenon also gives you an idea of the influence of a governess who was to become the wife of Louis XIV. Aqueduct, large canal, gardens designed by Le Nôtre, elaborate facades, sumptuous flats, the charm is there.
From the Eure valley to the banks of the Loir River
Rather unknown, the characterful city of Dreux is home to a number of half-timbered houses and private mansions. Complete your visit with the belfry and the neo-gothic chapel decorated by the greatest creators, which houses the necropolis of the royal family of Orléans.
On the wheat road in Beauce, south of Chartres in the ocean of wheat fields, a dozen picturesque mills still emerge. Gentilhommières, painted churches and typical farms dot the surroundings of the small discreet valleys of the Aigre and Conie rivers.
Heading to the south-west of the Eure-et-Loir department, discover the romantic atmosphere of the Haute Vallée du Loir. Nicknamed the Venice of Beauce, Bonneval reveals its washhouses and architectural charms. Then, at the foot of its remarkable castle, stroll through the half-timbered walls of Châteaudun, towards the astonishing natural caves of Le Foulon.
If the poetry of this terroir inspired Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay, it was Marcel Proust who chose it as the setting for A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. His entire universe is evoked in Illiers-Combray.