My first French Love: Chartres

By Christina

I was sitting in my French language class in high school flipping through the textbook and finding myself captivated by the small towns depicted, each one seemed a world away from the United States. 

Each house exuded a unique sense of comfort and coziness, and was steeped in distinctive character of every small town or village scattered across France.


Enter Chartres

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The quaint town of Chartres is nestled just 86 kilometers southwest of Paris. Despite its initial reputation as a sleep romantic haven, my move to Chartres during the tail end of the pandemic unveiled a town brimming with character, charm, and vibrancy. 

Chartres, with its pedestrian-friendly city center, draws visitors primarily to marvel at the renowned cathedral dating back to the 11th century. However, beyond this gothic marvel lies  a town pulsing with history.


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Chartres embraces the rebellious spirit of the French, serving as a source of inspiration during the occupation. Walking along the Esplanade de la Resistance will give a vivid depiction of the town’s ambition, providing a profound connection to its historical roots. 

Of course, as a self-proclaimed historian, I dove right into the town’s World War II history, which then led me to immerse myself in the medieval past. 

FYI: The city celebrates its medieval past with festivals and parades. It’s so mesmerizing to see the participants dressed in medieval clothing and see the “wooden” games as children try their hand at shooting arrows. 

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I discovered that Chartres was the site of King Henry IV”s coronation. The tangible remnants of the coronation, including the actual kneeling stool, give you a glimpse into that day.  What’s more the very house where the king lodged on the eve of his coronation is available for a stay, giving one an added layer to the experience. 

Looking back at my time in Chartres, makes me miss the leisurely strolls, inhaling the enticing aromas wafting from the open-air markets, or exploring the bi-weekly antique sales and obviously visiting my favorite bakery. 

Chartres, my first true home in France, has a firm place in my heart.  I look forward to one day visiting my favorite shops, the delicious cheese store, candy shops, and bakeries. 

On a side note, Salad n Creps is my favorite! Not only is the food delicious but its laid-back service and warm welcoming staff are the perfect representative of the town’s inviting feeling. 

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Hi, I’m Christina

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I’m the coffee-addicted creative behind Christina Q. Writes. As a full-time writer and lover of history, I share insights into my crazy wonderful life.  Christina Q. Writes is where I share tips and advice to help you live simply and in the moment, and do it your way. Don’t be afraid to laugh at my mistakes!