Dreux (pronounced Drew) is a small town to the east of Paris.
Although legend has it that it was associated with ancient druids, this appears to be more the stuff of legends rather than reality. The name appears to be derrived from the Roman camp that was in the same location: Castrum Drocas.
Now the town is perfect for a day visit from Paris.
What to see
In some respects the town is nothing especially special. However, it has a very nice feel to it. One a nice day there are some great outdoor eating options on on Place Melezeau which looks over the church of Saint Pierre.
There are a number of sights worth visiting in the town.
The town is most famous for the Chapelle Royal. The Royal Chapel is the traditional resting place of the royal family of Orleans. The original Royal Chapel (built in 1783) was desecrated and destoryed in the French revolution. This Royal Chapel was built in 1816 by the Duchess of Orleans and was subsequently expanded in 1830. It holds the remains of 75 members of the royal family of Orleans. The chapel's hours and prices are available in English here. Note that it is closed on Tuesdays and all days between between 1 October and 31 March.
The church of Saint Pierre is a fascinating church. It has a good sense of life to it, which is unusual for some of the old churches in France. The church was built between the 13th and the 17th century with much of the church built in the 15th century. The church was expanded in the 16th century with two towers added to the front of the church. The southern-most tower (the Saint-Anne Tower) was never completed. This gives the church a very distinctive look. Many of the cafe's on the Place Melezeau overlook the church of Saint Pierre.
The belfry is in the middle of one of the main shopping areas. The building dates from the 1500's and is the only example of its kind. The first floor is Gothic architecture, the second floor is Renaissance architecture. The building is currently closed for visits.
Up by the Royal Chapel there is the towns cemetery. There are a number of interesting tombstones and monuments which make a visit to the cemetery worthwhile if you are visiting the Royal Chapel.
Things to do
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Dreux is by train. Either the regional Ter (can look like Ten line) line or the Intercities lines, whichever has the most convienient departure.
Both leave from Montparnasse Station, both take about 45 minutes, and both options cost 14 Euros per person each way.
There are other options with connections in Chatres, but they are longer and more expensive.
Exit through the front of the station (to Rond-Point de la Gare) and take Boulevard Louis Terrier to get into town.
Approximate Distance from Paris: 80km/50mi
Time to get there: about 45 minutes.
Transport Method: Train - Regional (TER) or Intercity from Paris Montparnasse 3 Vaugirard
Approximate Price: Transport is approximately 14 Euro per person
Worth: 2/3rds of a day. Possibly with lunch in the square.
Website: http://www.ot-dreux.fr/ (available in English)