Paris is absolutely incredible, but it's also crazy crowded and has a slight odor to it. Needless to say, Chartres was the perfect break.
We had a one night stay booked in a castle called Chateau d'Esclimont which is about an hour south-west of Paris. Let me just say, pulling up to the castle made me feel like a princess and who wouldn't when you get to stay in a place like this?!
Our room wasn't quite ready yet so we made ourselves at home in our new temporary home. There was a man, still not entirely sure if he worked there or not, that gave us the full run down of the castle and the small city around it. The castle was styled more like a cute bed and breakfast than a huge elaborate castle and was actually quite homey.
Also, there were stuffed lions and tigers to greet us in the lobby which made me a little uneasy but now I can say I've pet a lion.
We made our way into the city of Chartres (population 49,000 in the center of Centre Val de Louire) and we were immediately (after walking up a huge hill) surrounded by cute stores, bakeries, and cafes. It almost resembles the "Beauty and the Beast" set!
The main attraction is the Chartres Cathedral. We did the next available tour which just so happened to only be in French. I never thought I would find myself underneath a gothic cathedral with a very energetic French tour guide, but that's beside the point. The cathedral was incredible and breathtaking!
After we saw all that Chartres had to offer, we decided to have a stay-cation at our castle. We rode bikes all around the 60 acres of property the castle was on and we took a small boat through the castle's moat.
Like I said, Paris is incredible but it's also a lot like New York. Chartres was the perfect escape from all the hustle and bustle.
The castle was just an added bonus.