Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1979
Size of heritage: 1.06 ha
- Buffer zone: 62 ha
Partly built starting in 1145, and then reconstructed over a 26-year period after the fire of 1194, Chartres Cathedral marks the high point of French Gothic art. The vast nave, in pure ogival style, the porches adorned with fine sculptures from the middle of the 12th century, and the magnificent 12th- and 13th-century stained-glass windows, all in remarkable condition, combine to make it a masterpiece.
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Chartres Cathedral: A Testament to Gothic Architecture
Chartres Cathedral, located in the Department of Eure-et-Loire in the Centre Region of France, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a testament to the grandeur and beauty of Gothic architecture. With its rich history and remarkable state of preservation, the cathedral continues to captivate visitors from around the world.
The construction of Chartres Cathedral began in 1145, replacing an earlier church that had been destroyed by fire. The cathedral was built to house the Sancta Camisa, a relic believed to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary during the birth of Jesus. This relic attracted pilgrims from far and wide, making Chartres an important religious destination.
Over the centuries, the cathedral underwent several expansions and renovations, resulting in the magnificent structure we see today. The most significant additions occurred in the 13th century when the original Romanesque choir was replaced with a larger Gothic one, and the iconic spires were added.
Chartres Cathedral is renowned for its exceptional Gothic architecture, characterized by its pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses. The exterior of the cathedral features intricate sculptures and stunning stained glass windows, which are considered some of the finest examples of medieval stained glass in the world.
One of the most striking features of the cathedral is its two asymmetrical spires. The north spire, known as the "Old Chartres," was completed in the 12th century, while the south spire, known as the "New Chartres," was finished in the 16th century. These spires, reaching heights of over 100 meters, dominate the skyline of Chartres and serve as a symbol of the city.
Chartres Cathedral has been remarkably well-preserved over the centuries, thanks to ongoing restoration efforts and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. The cathedral underwent a major restoration campaign in the mid-19th century, led by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who aimed to return the building to its original medieval splendor.
Today, the cathedral continues to be an active place of worship, hosting daily Masses and religious ceremonies. It also attracts thousands of visitors each year who come to admire its architectural beauty and experience its spiritual significance.
Visitors to Chartres Cathedral can explore its interior, which features a nave adorned with stunning stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes and saints. The labyrinth, located on the floor of the nave, is another notable feature that symbolizes the spiritual journey of pilgrims.
Chartres Cathedral stands as a remarkable example of Gothic architecture and a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of medieval builders. Its historical and cultural significance, combined with its architectural beauty, make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of France and the development of European architecture.
Hotels and places to stay
Timhotel Chartres Cathédrale
Hôtel Mercure Chartres Centre Cathédrale
Best Western Hôtel & Spa Grand Monarque
Jehan de Beauce
ibis Chartres Centre Cathédrale
L Hotel Logis
Hotellerie Saint Yves
Hotel Du Boeuf Couronné
des Poèmes de Chartres INTER-HOTEL
Saint Pierre Appart Hotel
Videos from the area
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Small airport - 2 mi (3 km) Toussus-le-Noble Airport
Medium airport - 35 mi (57 km) Paris-Orly Airport
Large airport - 44 mi (72 km) Pontoise - Cormeilles-en-Vexin Airport
Medium airport - 51 mi (83 km) Blois-Le Breuil Airport
Medium airport - 55 mi (88 km) Paris-Le Bourget Airport
Medium airport - 57 mi (91 km) Charles de Gaulle International Airport
Large airport - 62 mi (101 km) Rouen Airport
Medium airport - 66 mi (107 km) Paris Beauvais Tillé Airport
Medium airport - 75 mi (121 km) Tours-Val-de-Loire Airport
Large airport - 78 mi (127 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Les Andelys
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- La Villette
- Le Coudray
- Le Gorget
- Les Moulins Neufs