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After Brittany, stay in Chartres or Giverny?

Culminating a northern France car excursion in September 2018, we wish to see Chartres Cathedral and to visit Monet's Giverny. Driving from Dinan, originally we were planning to spend a night in Chartres (basically a 3 hour drive from Dinan), to see the cathedral in the evening as well as the daytime. Yet, after glancing at the lodging options sited in Rick Steve's France guidebook, there are some comfy options portrayed in Giverny, so I am seeking opinions on which place to stay as we could stop in Chartres to see the Cathedral and then travel on to Giverny which appears to be a 1 hr 33 min drive. We will be returning the rental car in Paris, little more than and hours drive from Gierny, and then traveling by train to Lyon for 2 or 3 nights before continuing on to Arles as our home base in Provence.
Looking forward to reading your recommendations.

Posted by
3340 posts

Haven't visited Chartres, and haven't spent the night in Giverny, but as you'll have a car in Brittany, a non-tailgating part of France, I'm curious if you're going to be able to spend time west of Dinan . . . Treguier, Quimper, Pont Aven, Josselin, etc. . . . we really enjoyed our trip last summer, and hope you enjoy Brittany!

Posted by
224 posts

We stayed near Giverny and in Chartres this past spring. Hands down I would recommend Giverny. Aside from the cathedral (which was fabulous) I was underwhelmed by Chartres.

Posted by
42 posts

In Chartres you might like the Vietnamese restaurant 'BB Soup' which is down the hill from the cathedral. I loved it.

Posted by
1464 posts

On the way from Dinan to Chartres you can visit Fougères, Vitré or the historical centre of Le Mans and tiny Sainte-Suzanne (still have to visit it) seems to be worth a detour. You can visit Chartres only for the cathedral and combine it for instance with a visit to nearby Maintenon for it’s lovely château and Rambouillet too.

You can combine Giverny with a drive through the lovely countryside of the Vexin region and pay a visit to nice La Roche-Guyon and closer to Rouen Château Gaillard for the impressive view over the Seine valley. A detour to Lyons-la-Fôret is worth before driving back to Paris as it is paying a visit to van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise.

Posted by
2436 posts

You should first check to see if Chartres' summer light show is still going in Sept. The Discover Chartres website says it occurs every night April to September and it is really good. If so, stay at the former monastary across the street from the cathedral. It is tricky to drive to the monastery(some streets are closed to most traffic) but doable.

Posted by
854 posts

It may because I lived in Chartres that I love it, but I think Chartres is a better choice. Giverny is too small and really there's not much else there. Chartres has a few museums, an amazing centre ville, and to me is a great little city. The cathedral should be on everyone's bucket list - Monet's garden's not as much in my opinion (unless you live and breathe Monet).

If you're looking for a hotel, I recommend Hôtel du Boeuf Couronné. It has amazing cathedral views, is quaint, has an amazing restaurant attached, and a nice breakfast. It's also a 3 minute walk from the train station and easy to find.

Posted by
243 posts

Thank you for this valuable feedback.
We have decided to stay in Chartres one night to see the lights on the cathedral. We have booked lodging at the recommended hotel. The next morning we will drive to Giverney to see Monet's bridge over the Lilly pad pond. Truly, that's all I need.
Merci beaucoup