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Guidebook: Seeing Chartres

Special To The Times

Getting there: The nearest airports are Charles de Gaulle (70 miles) and Orly (45 miles) in Paris. Nonstop service is offered on Air France and Air Tahiti Nui; direct service is offered on US Airways, and connecting service (change of planes) is available on United, American, Delta, Continental, Northwest, Lufthansa, Swiss, British, US and KLM. Restricted round-trip fares in high season, which begins June 16, begin at $1,137.

French National Railways (011-33-836-35-35-35, http://www.sncf.com) runs more than 30 trains daily between Paris' Gare Montparnasse and the Chartres station in the Place Pierre-Semard; it's a 70-minute trip.

Telephones: To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 33 (country code for France), 237 (the area code) and the local number.

The cathedral: Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. from Easter to Nov. 1. The labyrinth is open to walkers only on Fridays.

Where to stay: The top of the line is the Best Western Grand Monarque, 22 Rue des Epars; 18-15-15, fax 36-34-18, http://www.bw-grand-monarque.com. Offers black-tie service, a full-service restaurant and casual bar. Doubles about $112. Breakfast $9.

Hôtel de la Poste, 3 Rue du Général Koenig; 21-04-27, fax 36-42-17, http://www.hotelposte-chartres.com. At this two-star hotel, a small, clean room for two with bath is about $70; with shower, $66. Easy walk to the cathedral.

Hôtel du Boeuf Couronné, 15 Place Châtelet; 18-06-06, fax 21-72-13. Two-star hotel in the heart of town; some rooms have a splendid view of the cathedral. Doubles about $45.

Where to eat: Brasserie Châtelet, 13 Place Châtelet; 21-07-30. Bistro in the center of town specializes in mussels (about $10). Entrees range from a few dollars to $38 for filet.

Le Pichet, 19 Rue du Cheval Blanc; 21-08-35. Checkered tablecloths, delicious food in the shadow of the cathedral. Entrees $30 per person with wine.

Le Dix du Pythagore, 2 Rue de la Porte Cendreuse; 36-02-38. A basement restaurant with good seafood; entrees around $20.

For more information: Chartres Tourist Office, Place de la Cathédrale, BP 289-28005 Chartres; 18-26-26, fax 21-51-91, http://www.tourisme.fr/tourist-office/chartres.htm.

French Government Tourist Office, 9454 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 715, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; France-on-Call hotline (410) 286-8310 (for brochures), (310) 271-6665, fax (310) 276-2835, http://www.franceguide.com.

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