Paris is a city that can constantly keep you entertained, but sometimes its nice to get away from the bustle of it all ....
so a day trip is in order. One of those "easy to visit" places, especially by train, is Chartres. A beautiful little, idéale city that has it all, plus ... one of the most famous cathedrals in France.
Visiting the cathedral is a must do, and if you are organized, you can get there in time for one of the guided talks given by Malcolm Miller. He has been studying the cathedral since 1958. His talks are at noon and 2:45 for a mere 10 Euros. No tours on Sunday.
The city of Chartres is quaint and easy to get around. Of course there are many touristy shops and restaurants right around the cathedral, but if you venture out a bit you will find some small winding streets, little shops, restaurants in small squares, and even some bargain-filled buy-sell shops. Wandering near the river that runs near the edge of the town has some nice photo ops as well. You can even go fishing there!
The "petit place" is a good place to shop, eat or just sit and enjoy the people watching. When I visited not long ago, I had a great french and history lesson with the woman sitting next to me. She had been living in Chartres for over 20 years and knew it all! and was quite happy to share the knowledge of the city.
So, when you are making your plans for Paris, consider setting aside a day for a short 45 minute train ride to Chartres. During the summer months, the city becomes the "Chartres en Lumières" with about twenty different places around the city illuminated with colored lights. A real fairyland and a great pleasure for all!