Chartres vs Rouen

As a day trip from Paris this December, I'm considering either Chartres or Rouen. I know they are different (duh) and Rouen is further away from Paris than Chartres.
I'm interested in a charming locale with perhaps a more casual vibe than Paris. Feedback on the two places? Thanks!

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
1891 posts

I liked Rouen for the history, the cathedral, the Joan of Arc connection and the Monet connection. But, in all truth, I preferred Chartres as a nice town to visit (just the general 'feel' of the place) and of course I love the Chartres cathedral. It would be especially nice to visit now that most of the inside restoration is done and you can see and appreciate the whole.

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
1120 posts

Rouen is larger and exhibits more central urbanization than Chartres which is essentially a small town , As such , Chartres is likely going to be more to your liking . Wander down to the river along the road where the leather and textile mills used to be. Also , while all the French Gothic cathedrals are striking , Chartres is more colorful and exuberant than Rouen which is more austere . Since more than 80% of the glass is original thirteenth century and the building escaped WW II bombing , it is a riot of color when the sun pours in . As well , I understand that the polychrome painting restoration in the choir and nave is nearly complete which will also add an additional eyeful to the experience .