Everyone has heard of it. The Notre Dame cathedral of Chartres. He is considered a high point in religious and Gothic architecture. For the small community that Chartres was then, the monumental church building was built in record time: between 1194 and 1220. That explains the unique unity in style.
Meanwhile, Chartres is no longer a "small community". The capital of Eure-et-Loir has more than forty thousand inhabitants and offers a versatile center. Enjoying old streets and special monuments just as well as contemporary shops, restaurants and museums. Be sure to visit Maison Picassiette, built by Raymond Isidore. He used glass and porcelain shards for his life's work. His house is now a recognized monument for what is called "naive architecture."
Eure-et-Loir is the source for another famous life's work: the recherche du temps perdu by the celebrated French writer Marcel Proust (1871-1922). In his seven-part novel, he goes looking for his childhood. The taste of a typical French cookie, the Madeleine, takes him back to the carefree time he experienced with his great-aunt Léonie, in Illiers-Combray. The house and garden, with many memories of the great novelist, can be visited.
Further back in history, the names of French nobles and kings emerge. It is a noble territory, Eure-et-Loir. The many majestic castles bear witness to this. The impressive and massive castle of Châteaudun, for example, strategically located on the Loir. Or the beautiful, 16th century Renaissance castle of Anet. And what about the castle of Maintenon, which once housed the secret wife of Louis XIV, the Sun King?
Not only the castles of Eure-et-Loir bring history to life. The towns and villages with their well-preserved medieval cores also let us travel in time. Bonneval and Gallardon, but also Brou, on the banks of the Ozanne is worth a visit. In the west, against the department of Orne, lies Nogent-le-Roi with its many half-timbered houses. Pay a visit to the medieval garden of Boix Rocheux, not far from Maintenon, in the municipality of Pierres. Dreux not only has a beautiful historic center with a classical chapel, but is also the name giver of a local cheese: Feuille de Dreux. Looks a bit like camembert, but then decorated with a chestnut leaf.
Cultural holiday or nature holiday? It is both possible in Eure-et-Loir. The region offers more than 3000 kilometers of hiking, cycling and riding trails. From different locations there is the possibility for wonderful discovery trips by kayak or canoe on the flow of the Eure or the Loir. A beautiful nature trail winds through authentic country houses and fortified farms through the regional nature park of Perche, famous for its horse breeding farms. Demonstrations with the small, sturdy Perche horses take place on many estates. A party for children!