Chartres ( ) is a town and
commune and capital of the
Eure-et-Loir department in
north-central France It is
located southwest of Paris in central
is built on the left bank of the Eure River, 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
, from the river Autura (Eure), and afterwards
. The name "Chartres" derives from
"Carnutes". It was burnt by the Normans
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
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
Cathedrals and churches
Cathedral of Chartres.
is best known for the Cathedral of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de
Chartres), widely considered to be the finest gothic cathedral in France.
historical and cultural importance is recognized by its
inclusion on the UNESCO list of
World Heritage Sites.
The famous "Chartres blue"
construction started in 1205, following the destruction of the old
cathedral of Chartres. Construction took 66 years.
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
. Of the other
churches of Chartres also noteworthy are St Aignan
(13th, 16th and 17th centuries
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
- Le Centre International du Vitrail, a workshop-museum
and cultural center devoted to stained
- Muséum de sciences naturelles et de la préhistoire,
Natural Science and Prehistory
- 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
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
in the region of Beauce
"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
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 /www.nd-chretiente.com>, with offices in
Versailles, has organized the annual pilgrimage on foot from the
cathedral of Notre-Dame de
Paris 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:
Chartres was the birthplace of:
- Fulcher of Chartres (born
around 1059 in or near Chartres), chronicler of the First Crusade
- Philippe Desportes
- Mathurin Régnier
- André Félibien
(1619-1695), architect and historiographer
- Pierre Nicole (1625-1695),
- Philippe de Dangeau
(1638-1720), officer and
member of the Académie
- Antoine François
Desrues (1744-1777), poisoner
- Jacques Pierre Brissot (1754–1793), a leading member of the Girondist movement (French Revolution)
Pétion de Villeneuve (1756-1794), writer and politician
- François Séverin
Marceau-Desgraviers (1769-1796), general
- Achille Guénée
(1809-1880), lawyer and entomologist
- Pierre-Jules Hetzel
(1814-1886), editor and publisher
- Jacqueline de Romilly
(born 1913), philologist
- Nicolas Escudé (born 1976),
professional tennis player
- Loïc Duval (born 12 June 1982),
professional racingdriver; currently A1
Team France, Formula Nippon and
Twin towns - Sister cities
Chartres is twinned
File:France Chartres 17th-c-engraving.jpg|17th-Century
engraving of Chartres
Cathedral of ChartresFile:France Eure-et-Loir_Chartres Cathedrale
02.jpg|The Apostles and Saint Sculptures of
Old Town - River
house in the Old
TownFile:France_Eure_et_Loir_Chartres_Vieille_ville.jpg |Hill of
south from the Cathedral