Day trip from Paris: Chartres, France, Part II

10 Things to do in Chartres besides the Cathedral

Let’s be clear. If you are going to Chartres, you are making the trip to visit its incredible cathedral. It truly is something special and deserving of your time and focus while in town. It’s perfectly acceptable to treat Chartres as a stop to see the Cathedral and then move on. But should you choose to hang around longer, there is plenty more to do.

I spent the weekend (a full day and a half) in Chartres. With more than enough time to see the Cathedral, I had plenty of time to explore. Let’s follow my route around town so I can show you what else the city has to offer:

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Park it in Paris: Jardin des Plantes

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

The fact that Paris is divided by a river has set the stage for the age-old debate of Left Bank versus Right Bank. At least we can say that the city's beginnings took place on the neutral ground of Île de la Cité, and it remains the heart of Paris. (If you stand in the square facing Notre Dame Cathedral, in Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, look for the star plaque on the ground. All route distances from Paris are measured from that marker.) I like to imagine that when the city was ready to expand off the island, it was the time when the two camps were formed.

I will admit that I am a Right Bank girl all the way. I live on that side and spend most of my time there. If I didn't have friends who live on the Left Bank, it would be easy for me to go weeks with crossing over a bridge. 

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Ten Free Activities in Paris: Summer 2014 Edition

Paris can be a notoriously pricey city to visit, but a visit doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some ideas of completely gratuit (free) events and activities available to enjoy this summer. Profitez! 

1. Enjoy a view from the terrace of the Institut du Monde Arabe. 

I asked on Monday for guesses on where a free terrace in Paris could be that offers a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and a view of Notre Dame. The answer? At the Institut du Monde Arabe in the 5th. 

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Into the Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Planning a Trip to Bordeaux

So did the winemedieval village, and ocean convince you that a trip to Bordeaux is a good idea? If it did, here's what I recommend to pull the vacation together.

Make the city of Bordeaux your home-base during your stay. It is the largest city in the area and offers plenty of choices for accommodations, restaurants, and night life. 

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