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)


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dimitris Petrakis (6 months ago)
What an amazing experience! An amazing cathedral. The love everything was built with on and in this unique monument, is breathtaking! It is really astonishing how people managed to create such wonders centuries ago and with what tools? When visiting France, visiting Chartres just for its cathedral is a must! Unbelievable! ❤️
Gordon Müller-Eschenbach (9 months ago)
Obviously the star in Chartres … generations have rebuilt this cathedral over and over again on this special spot … just allow yourself to be blasted away with the magnificent artwork you will see inside - small wonders of craftsmanship for centuries and centuries … if you come during the summer months you will be lucky to see some great light performance projected onto the cathedral - and on some other 10 sites in Chartres - starting when night falls and running until something like 1 am. Indeed to stroll around town (easily by foot no need for the tourist „train“) and suck in all these light shows and music performances that automatically start after sunset
Bob Morris (9 months ago)
It's differently worth the visit with beautiful stained glass windows that are very hard to photograph. The story of Jesus in 40 Scripture scenes in great detailed the before through after his death on the cross. It was all pretty amazing and how they saved the stained glass windows during WW2 for the Cathedral. Now, you can view them for yourselves. Enjoy the Cathedral while you're in Chartres!
Gilles Chapellon (14 months ago)
We stayed in Chartres for a day on our way to Rennes and stopped there to see the Cathedral which is part of UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. We love Gothic cathedrals, and this is one of the most impressive cathedral we've seen. Surprisingly, It is a tad taller than Notre Dames in Paris. There has been extensive renovation work done in past 10 years and it is quite striking to compare between before and after renovation. When we came, the main entrance door was closed, probably because the mass was ongoing, but we were able to enter from the right side entrance. We were totally blown away by the beauty of the place, the statues both inside and out, the stain glasses and even more so by the wall of sculptures all around the choir. It took 200 years to complete it!!! I highly recommended to see the Cathedral if you travel by Chartres.
Sue Parsons (2 years ago)
Amazing building and I especially loved the intricate sculptures and stained glass windows. Plus it's free ( able to donate of course) lots of work needed and scaffold up. Some bits covered but of course these things need to be restored
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