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The charm of the Eure Valley and Chartres, a stone's throw from Paris

Portail du Château d'Anet J. Puyo

When you come to the Eure Valley, stop off at Anet to see a royal gift and architectural masterpiece. Madly in love, Henri II offered Château d'Anet to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. On the entrance gate, sculptures of a nymph and stag with hounds evoke the mythological theme of Diana the hunter, in tribute to its famous owner.

Is there something about the Eure Valley that attracts lovesick kings and their mistresses? A century later Françoise d'Aubigné, better known as Madame de Maintenon, the future mistress and secret wife of Louis XIV, bought the Château of Maintenon.
Visitors can enjoy the cosy charm of her personal apartments and the grandeur of the galleries that were once much appreciated by the Sun King.

At the far end of the gardens designed by Le Nôtre, an aqueduct stands as a reminder of a monumental project intended to carry the waters of the Eure River all the way to the Château of Versailles. Keen filmgoers may even recognise the locations where Le Capitaine Fracasse, Fanfan la Tulipe and Le Professionnel were filmed.
To step back in time, stop off in Pierres, near Maintenon. Recreated around one of the oldest medieval farms in France, the walled garden of Bois Richeux combines medicinal plants, herbs and ancient vegetables, and provides an insight into the spirituality of the Middle Ages.

Chartres La Maison du Saumon P. DuriezThe beautiful city of Chartres is an enchantment for visitors, thanks to its exceptional architectural heritage and the towering silhouette of its UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral. Famous for its twin spires and as the perfect illustration of Gothic art, Notre-Dame cathedral reveals the splendour of its stained glass and the mystery of its maze.

Just a few streets away, on Place de la Poissonnerie, the Maison du Saumon or Maison de la Truie-qui-file is one of the most beautiful houses in Chartres. Give yourself up to the charm of the picturesque little streets with their master glassmakers, antiques dealers and crafts workshops...

Gourmets, meanwhile, will find plenty to whet their appetite in the city: Mentchikoffs, macaroons and Chartres pâté are just some of the local specialities to be tasted on the spot or taken away.

Acqueduc et Château de Maintenon P. Aucante

As far as activities are concerned, just a short distance from the Châteaux, the courses of Nantilly andthe Château of Maintenon will satisfy the keenest golfers. The former is a rolling, wooded course, while the second is flat and more technical, and lies in the shadow of the famous aqueduct.

For hikers, a wide choice of signposted paths offer a variety of views over the meanders of the river.

If you have a head for heights, you can also take to the skies in a hot-air balloon to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views!