Camino de Santiago pilgrimage
These days, multiple trails can lead you on hikes towards Santiago de Compostela. There are two waymarked “Chemins de Compostelle” (Camino de Santiago) paths that run through our lovely city on the trail from Paris (along the Tours Route). There is the “direct”, long distance path that pilgrims and ramblers take, and then the “vagabond”: the GR655 which passes by various tourist attractions. This trail crosses through the Eure-et-Loir Department, from Epernon to Cloyes-sur-le-Loir, naturally by way of Chartres where you can have a rest at the cathedral. Back in the day, this stop at Chartres Cathedral was important to pilgrims, who worshipped the Virgin Mary and her veil, a relic given to the cathedral by Charles the Bald.
Chartres to Mont Saint-Michel
There are several routes to Mont Saint-Michel: Norman trails and European trails. The GR22 spans 91 km in Eure-et-Loir, departing from Chartres Cathedral. This trail from Chartres, one of the Norman routes connecting to Mont Saint-Michel, is a chance to explore the town of Illiers-Combray, Thiron-Gardais Abbey, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Saint-Hilaire-sur-Erre and more...
Another track that you might enjoy is the Transbeauce! It spans roughly 50 km and can also be travelled by horse or by bicycle.
Charles Péguy Trail
This trail, created by the Amitié Charles Péguy friendly society, links the Paris region to Chartres. The author himself followed it twice, in 1912 and 1913, inspiring his famous poem, “Présentation de la Beauce à Notre-Dame de Chartres” (“Presentation of the Beauce Region to Notre-Dame de Chartres”). Waymarked between Lozère (town of Palaiseau in the Essonne Department) and Chartres, it stretches 94 km in length. A detailed description of the route divides it into four sections: Lozère to St-Cyr-sous-Dourdan (30 km), then to Ablis (26 km), followed by Pont-sous-Gallardon (15 km) and lastly to Chartres (23 km). This itinerary, which a strong rambler can do in three days, is a chance to discover the Chevreuse Valley, Hurepoix and of course the Beauce and its cathedral. Hikers can of course choose to take it more slowly or by fragments.
Do you enjoy walking but you’re not a big rambler? You’re in luck: there are shorter hiking trails like the Berchéroise.
But what is that, the Berchéroise? It’s about a 13 km walk that has been organized by the Berch-Pierre association since 2012. It joins the cathedral to the quarries in Berchères-les-Pierres, which supplied most of the building materials for a number of monuments and even for the historical centre of the city of Chartres. The hike aims to enhance the prestige of the Berchères quarries and to bring the memory back to life of the quarriers who would deliver their stones for the cathedral’s construction after following the historical Chemin des Carriers (Quarriers’ Trail).
And you should also try out the city’s Green Plan trails which are great for walks and hikes but also for a breath of fresh air!