"Chartres' Cathedral" Top 5 Page for this destination Chartres by Goner

Chartres Travel Guide: 203 reviews and 753 photos

A Gothic Masterpiece

We were fortunate to visit this marvel of a cathedral on a sunny day. The nearly two hundred stained glass windows turned the interior into a prism of colors emanating from every side. It was an enchanting sight. It wasn't until we gazed for sometime at all the sections of windows that we took an interest in the thousands of sculptures that fill every nook and cranny, inside and out, of this cathedral. The Chartres Cathedral is but an hour by train from Paris and can be visited in one day - don't miss it.

This magnificent medieval Gothic cathedral is located in the town of Chartres southwest of Paris. I'ts built of limestone and stands some 112 feet (34 metres) high and is 427 feet (130 metres) long. It ranked as one of the three chief examples of French architecture (along with Amiens Cathedral and Reims Cathedral), it is noted not only for its architectural innovations but also for its numerous sculptures and its much-celebrated stained glass.

History of Chartres

Where the great Gothic masterpiece now sits was once an oak grove where Druids held their rituals, but a Christian church has been there since the 4th century. It was in 1145 that the townspeople first started building a cathedral. The town of Chartres had been a center for the cult of the Virgin throughout the middle ages. It possesses a statue of the Virgin Mary, reportedly carved by St. Luke, as well as the "sacred Tunic," supposedly worn by the Virgin at the time of the birth of Christ. The people of Chartres believed that this sacred relic acted as their protector.

When the first "early Gothic" cathedral (as well as much of the town) burned in 1194, the townspeople didn?t want to rebuild since they believed they had been deserted by their protector. However, a representative of the Pope persuaded the citizens to rebuild the cathedral. Now it is one of most famous cathedrals in France, defined as an example of the "High Gothic" style. The facade, executed earlier (before the fire), is early Gothic.

Chartres emerged with relatively little damage from the political and religious upheavals of the 16th century and sustained less damage than most cathedrals during the French Revolution (1787?99). After a fire damaged the roof in 1836, a series of restorations were carried out during the 19th century. In 1979 Chartres Cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. During the late 20th century preservation efforts concentrated on protecting the cathedral's stained glass from air pollution damage.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A Cathedral with magnificent stained glass windows and a plethora of beautiful carvings
  • In a nutshell:One of the most important cathedrals in the world
  • Last visit to Chartres: Aug 1999
  • Intro Updated Nov 23, 2004
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (15)

Comments (4)

  • Elena77's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2008 at 12:51 PM

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! Chartres is on my list of places to visit soon! The cathedral is simply stunning!

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM

    What a great page, thanks for all the info on the stained glass windows. Most informative ;-)

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2005 at 7:31 AM

    Great page. Very interesting info on stained glasses and great pictures.

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2004 at 10:01 PM

    I visited Chartres only ones, but have lifelong images of this place......you realy know about the stuff you're writting. wonderful. thank you for just refreshing in time Nancy


“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness - M. Twain”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 2 1 3

Badges & Stats in Chartres

  • 15 Reviews
  • 22 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 18,288PageViews

Have you been to Chartres?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Chartres

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (4)