Chartres 1987.jpg
Distant view of Chartres and its cathedral
Coat of arms of Chartres
Chartres is located in France
Country France
Region Centre
Department Eure-et-Loir
Arrondissement Chartres
Intercommunality Chartres Métropole
Mayor Jean-Pierre Gorges
Elevation 121–161 m (397–528 ft)
(avg. 142 m/466 ft)
Land area1 16.85 km2 (6.51 sq mi)
Population2 39,159  (2008)
 - Density 2,324 /km2 (6,020 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 28085/ 28000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Coordinates: 48°27′21″N 1°29′03″E / 48.455847°N 1.484184°E / 48.455847; 1.484184

Chartres (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁtʁ]) is a commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France. It is located 96 km (60 mi) southwest of Paris.



Chartres 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 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 Châtillon, 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 Orléans.

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 to be an important centre of operations.

The city suffered heavy damage by bombing in the course of World War II, but the Cathedral of Chartres was spared by an American Army officer who challenged the order to destroy it.[1]

Colonel Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr. questioned the strategy of destroying the cathedral and volunteered to go behind enemy lines to find out whether the German Army was occupying the cathedral and using it as an observation post. With a single enlisted soldier to assist, Col. Griffith proceeded to the cathedral and confirmed the Germans were not using it. After he returned from his reconnaissance, he reported that the cathedral was clear of enemy troops. The order to destroy the cathedral was withdrawn and the Allies later liberated the area. Col. Griffith was killed in action on August 16, 1944 in the town of Leves, near Chartres.[1][2]

Following deep reconnaissance missions in the region by the 3rd Cavalry Group and units of the 1139 Engineer Combat Group, and after heavy fighting in and around the city, Chartres was liberated, on 18 August 1944, by the U.S. 5th Infantry and the 7th Armored Divisions belonging to the XX Corps of the 3rd US Army commanded by General George S. Patton.[3]


Historical population of Chartres
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851 1856
15,000 13,794 13,809 13,714 14,439 14,750 16,383 17,353 18,234 18,925
1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896 1901 1906
19,531 19,442 19,580 20,468 21,080 21,903 23,108 23,182 23,431 23,219
1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954 1962 1968 1975
24,103 23,349 24,630 25,357 27,077 26,422 28,740 31,495 34,469 38,928
1982 1990 1999 2008
37,119 39,595 40,361 39,159

Main sights

Cathedrals and churches

Cathedral of Chartres.
The famous "Chartres blue".
The Cathedral.
The Church of Saint Aignan.

The town is best known for the Cathedral of Chartres (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 UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Its 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 13th 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 (12th 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

Other sights

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.


The Gare de Chartres railway station offers frequent services to Paris, and a few daily connections to Le Mans, Nogent-le-Rotrou and Courtalain. The A11 motorway connects Chartres with Paris and Le Mans.


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.

Chartres has a table tennis club which is playing in the Pro A (French First division) and in the European Champions League. The club won the ETTU Cup on the season 2010 - 2011 and it finished at the second position in the French First division.

Chartres has the second most important squash club in France. In 2013, Chartres will organize the World Team Squash Championships.

There is also a handball club and it is playing in the French second division.

In November 2012, Chartres will organize European Short Course Swimming Championships.


The town is the seat of a bishop, a prefecture, and a court of assizes. It 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 100 km (62 mi) 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:

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Chartres is twinned with:


See also


  1. ^ a b "MilitaryTimes Hall of Valor". Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr. Military Times, a Gannett Company. Retrieved May 10, 2011.  Note: The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded posthumously for saving the cathedral.
  2. ^ Jay Nordlinger (2011). "A Colonel at Chartres". The Corner. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ Winieska, Françoise, August 1944, The Liberation of Rambouillet, France, SHARY, 1999, pp. 19–23, ISBN 2-9514047-0-0
  4. ^ "Twinning with Palestine". 1998–2008 The Britain – Palestine Twinning Network. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "::Bethlehem Municipality::". Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ciudades Hermanas (Sister Cities)" (in Spanish). Municipalidad del Cusco. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chartres — Chartres …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chartres — • Diocese in France. Comprises the department of Eure et Loir Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Chartres     Diocese of Chartres     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Chartres — Escudo …   Wikipedia Español

  • CHARTRES — (Heb. קרטוש), French town, about 52 mi. (85 km.) S.W. of Paris. The importance of the Jewish community in Chartres during the Middle Ages, whose existence is attested to as early as 1130, is illustrated by the numerous street names which still… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Chartres — (antigua Carnutes, Autricum, civitas Carnutum), ciudad localizada al norte de Francia central y capital del departamento de Eure et Loire. Está situada a orillas del río Eure. Es un centro agrícola y fabril en el que se produce principalmente… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Chartres [1] — Chartres (spr. schartr ), Hauptstadt des franz Depart. Eure et Loir, an der Eure, Knotenpunkt der Westbahn und mehrerer Staatsbahnlinien, ist von Boulevards an Stelle der frühern Befestigungen umgeben. Auf dem höchsten Punkte der Stadt steht die… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Chartres [1] — Chartres (spr. Schartr), 1) Arrondissement des französischen Departements Eure u. Loire; 391/4 QM., 110,000 Ew. in 7 Cantonen; 2) Hauptstadt darin u. des Departements, an der Eure; alt u. winkelig gebaut; Departementalbehörden; 2 Friedensgerichte …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Chartres [2] — Chartres, Herzog von Ch., 1) so nannte sich früher König Ludwig Philipp (s.d.); 2) Name des[878] zweiten Sohnes des Herzogs von Orleans, Robert, geb. am 9. Nov. 1840 …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Chartres [2] — Chartres (spr. schartr ), Herzog von, Titel jüngerer Prinzen des Hauses Orléans (s.d. und die Stammtafel der Bourbonen beim Art. »Bourbon«). Jetziger Träger ist der zweite Sohn des 4842 verstorbenen Herzogs von Orléans, Bruder des Grafen von… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Chartres — (spr. scharrt r), Hauptstadt des franz. Dep. Eure et Loir, an der Eure, (1901) 23.431 E.; größte Kathedrale Frankreichs. Im Altertum (Antricum) Hauptort der Carnuten, im Mittelalter (Carnutum) Hauptstadt der Landsch. Beauce und Chartrain; später… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Chartres [2] — Chartres (spr. scharrt r), Robert, Herzog von, geb. 9. Nov. 1840 als Sohn des Prinzen Ferdinand von Orléans, nahm auf Seite der Nordstaaten am amerik. Bürgerkriege und 1870 am Kriege gegen Deutschland teil, 1886 verbannt; schrieb: »Histoire de la …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon