Chartres Cathedral

Chartres, France

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.

The construction project used the plans laid out by the first architect in order to preserve the harmonious aspect of the cathedral. Work began first on the nave and by 1220 the main structure was complete, with the old crypt, the west towers and the west facade incorporated into the new building. On October 24, 1260, the cathedral was finally dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX and his family. Chartres Cathedral was never destroyed nor looted during the French Revolution and the numerous restorations never have altered its glorious beauty. It always stayed the same: a great triumph of Gothic art.

Not only is Chartres Cathedral one of the greatest achievements in the history of architecture, it is almost perfectly preserved in its original design and details. In addition to its architectural splendor, Chartres Cathedral has been a major pilgrimage destination since the early Middle Ages. Its venerable history, exquisitely preserved architecture, and centuries of fervent devotion make for an atmosphere of awe and holiness that impresses even the most nonreligious of visitors.

The cathedral was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.



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Founded: 1145-1260
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

How it is Liz (5 months ago)
Our Lady of Chartres Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture! I was in awe of the endless stained glass and detailed art carvings throughout. This cathedral is well known for housing the relic that is believed to be of the Mother Mary's veil worn during the birth of Jesus. This history of this cathedral is incredibly impressive. It's tough to comprehend the endless hours invested into the creation of this magnificent artwork, including the years of renovation. I highly encourage you to make the pilgrimage to see this unbelievable cathedral in Chartres France!
Ann & Allan Corkindale (6 months ago)
A must see when in Chartres, during the day or after darkness when a light show uses the cathedral front as it's screen. It was nice to see the renovation of the interior which makes it look bright and airy inside, work ongoing. Don't miss it when in this beautiful French city
Stephen Hansen (6 months ago)
Beautiful structure: historic, big, and inviting. The community surrounding the Cathedral was welcoming. The village of Chartes is clean and inspiring...especially to a history buff. The evening light show on the front was breathtaking.
A Fowles (8 months ago)
One of the most amazing experiences I had in France. The cathedral itself is amazing. So well restored after the fire it looks like how it first must have when built. The most amazing part however is the light show in the evening. This truly is a must see. Sensationally mind blowing.
Mauro C (8 months ago)
Amazing cathedral with beautiful colorful windows If you pay attention to details you will notice the immense maze on the floor quite entirely hidden by the benches. You could buy ticket for guided tour of cathedral tower. During the night there is a great facade light show. Different from Rouen show that is quite off topic and inappropriate this Chartres show is very well done highlighting the architecture of the facade with colorful scenes
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