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Chartres ( ) is a town and commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loirmarker department in north-central Francemarker It is located southwest of Parismarker in central France.


Chartres is built on the left bank of the Eure Rivermarker, on a hill crowned by its famous cathedral, the spires of which are a landmark in the surrounding country. To the south-east stretches the fruitful plain of Beauce, the "granary of France", of which the town is the commercial centre.


Chartres was one of the principal towns of the Carnutes, and by the Romans was called Autricum, from the river Autura (Eure), and afterwards civitas Carnutum. The name "Chartres" derives from "Carnutes". It was burnt by the Normans in 858, and unsuccessfully besieged by them in 911.

During the Middle Ages it was the chief town of Beauce, and gave its name to a countship which was held by the counts of Blois and Champagne and afterwards by the house of Chatillon, a member of which in 1286 sold it to the crown. It was raised to the rank of a duchy in 1528 by Francis I. After the time of Louis XIV the title of duke of Chartres was hereditary in the family of Orleans.

In 1417 it fell into the hands of the English, from whom it was recovered in 1432. It became seat of a Duchy in 1528. During the Wars of Religion, it was attacked unsuccessfully by the Protestants in 1568, and was taken in 1591 by Henry IV, who was crowned there three years afterwards.

In the Franco-Prussian War it was seized by the Germans on 2 October 1870, and continued during the rest of the Campaign an important centre of operations.

The city suffered heavy damage by bombing in the course of World War II.

Main sights

Cathedrals and churches

Cathedral of Chartres.
The famous "Chartres blue"
The town is best known for the Cathedral of Chartresmarker (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), widely considered to be the finest gothic cathedral in France. Its historical and cultural importance is recognized by its inclusion on the UNESCOmarker list of World Heritage Sites. Its construction started in 1205, following the destruction of the old cathedral of Chartres. Construction took 66 years.
The Cathedral.

The abbey church of St Pierre , dating chiefly from the thirteenth century, contains, besides some fine stained glass, twelve representations of the apostles in enamel, created about 1547 by Léonard Limosin. Of the other churches of Chartres also noteworthy are St Aignan (13th, 16th and 17th centuries) and St Martin-au-Val (twelfth century).

The surrounding city financed the stained glass windows.


  • Musée des Beaux-Arts, fine arts museum (located near the Cathedral of Chartres) housed in the former episcopal palace.
  • Le Grenier de l'Histoire Musée, history museum specializing in military uniforms and accoutrements.
  • Le Centre International du Vitrail, a workshop-museum and cultural center devoted to stained glass art.
  • Muséum de sciences naturelles et de la préhistoire, Natural Science and Prehistory Museum
  • Conservatoire du Machinisme et des Pratiques Agricoles, an agricultural museum


The Eure River, which at this point divides into three branches, is crossed by several bridges, some of them ancient, and is fringed in places by remains of the old fortifications, of which the Porte Guillaume (14th century), a gateway flanked by towers, is the most complete specimen. The steep, narrow streets of the old town contrast with the wide, shady boulevards which encircle it and divide it from the suburbs. The Cbs St Jean, a pleasant park, lies to the north-west, and squares and open spaces are numerous.

The hotel de ville, a building of the 17th century, containing a museum and library, an older hotel de ville of the 13th century, and several medieval and Renaissance houses, are of interest. There is a statue of General F. S. Marceau-Desgraviers (b. 1769), a native of the town.

  • La Maison Picassiette, a house decorated inside and out with mosaics of chards of broken china and pottery


Chartres is one of the most important market towns in the region of Beauce (known as "the granary of France").

The game pies and other delicacies of Chartres are well known, and the industries also include flour-milling, brewing, distilling, iron-founding, leather manufacture, perfumes, dyeing, and the manufacture of electronic equipments, car accessories, stained glass, billiard requisites and hosiery.


Chartres is home to two semi-professional association football clubs; FC Chartres, who play in the French sixth division, and HB Chartres, who play in the seventh tier.


The town is the seat of a bishop, a prefecture, a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, training colleges, a high school for boys, a communal college for girls, and a branch of the Bank of France.


Chartres has been a site of Christian pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. The poet Charles Péguy (1873-1914) revived the pilgrimage route between Paris and Chartres before the First World War. After the war, some students carried on the pilgrimage in his memory. Since the 1980s, the association Notre-Dame de Chrétienté />, with offices in Versailles, has organized the annual pilgrimage on foot from the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Parismarker to the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres. About 15,000 pilgrims, mostly young families from all over France, participate every year.


Notable bishops of Chartres:

Notable people

Chartres was the birthplace of:

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Chartres is twinned with:


File:France Chartres 17th-c-engraving.jpg|17th-Century engraving of Chartres "skyline"File:France_Eure_et_Loir_Chartres_Cathedrale_nuit_02.jpg|The Cathedral of ChartresFile:France Eure-et-Loir_Chartres Cathedrale 02.jpg|The Apostles and Saint Sculptures of ChartresFile:France_Eure_et_Loir_Chartres_Bords_de_l_Eure.jpg|The Old Town - River EureFile:France_Eure_et_Loir_Chartres_Maison_a_colombage.jpg|Half-timbered house in the Old TownFile:France_Eure_et_Loir_Chartres_Vieille_ville.jpg |Hill of St. FrançoisFile:France_Eure_et_Loir_Chartres_Vieille_ville_02.jpg|View south from the Cathedral


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