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Chartres, France

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Chartres, France

This article is about the city in France. For the settlement in the Falkland Islands, see Chartres, Falkland Islands.

Chartres

Coat of arms
Chartres
Chartres

Coordinates: 48°27′22″N 1°29′02″E / 48.456°N 1.484°E / 48.456; 1.484Coordinates: 48°27′22″N 1°29′02″E / 48.456°N 1.484°E / 48.456; 1.484

Country France
Region Centre
Department Eure-et-Loir
Arrondissement Chartres
Intercommunality Chartres Métropole
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-Pierre Gorges
Area
 • Land1 16.85 km2 (6.51 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Population2 39,159
 • Population2 density 2,300/km2 (6,000/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 28085 / 28000
Elevation 121–161 m (397–528 ft)
(avg. 142 m or 466 ft)

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.

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.

History

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 burned 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 16 August 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]

Population

Historical population of Chartres
Year 17931800180618211831183618411846185118561861186618721876188118861891
Population 15,00013,79413,80913,71414,43914,75016,38317,35318,23418,92519,53119,44219,58020,46821,08021,90323,108
Year 18961901190619111921192619311936194619541962196819751982199019992008
Population 23,18223,43123,21924,10323,34924,63025,35727,07726,42228,74031,49534,46938,92837,11939,59540,36139,159

Geography

Chartres is built on a hill on the left bank of the Eure River. Its renowned medieval cathedral is at the top of the hill, and its two spires are visible from miles away across the flat surrounding lands. To the south-east stretches the fruitful plain of Beauce, the "granary of France", of which the town is the commercial centre.

Main sights

Cathedrals and churches



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. The blue of the glass has not been made again since the church was made because they do not know how they did it or what they did so it is impossible to replicate.

Museums

  • 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

Economy

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 equipment, car accessories, stained glass, billiard requisites and hosiery.

Since 1976 fashion and perfumes company Puig has a production plant in this commune.[4]

Transport

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.

Sport

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.

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.

Diocese

Main article: Diocese of Chartres

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.

Pilgrimages

Chartres has been a site of Christian pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. The poet 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.

Bishops

Notable bishops of Chartres:

Personalities

Chartres was the birthplace of:

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Chartres is twinned with:

Gallery

See also

Chartres' city website Chartres' tourism office website Chartres' archeology service

References

  • INSEE
  • Chartres and the Chartres Cathedral – Visitor Guide
  • La Maison Picassiette in Chartres

External links

  • Tourist office website
  • City council website (in French)
  • Chartres' archeology service website (in French)
  • Website about archaeological excavations (in French)
  • Visiting Chartres (English)
  • Photo of the abbey church of St.Pierre
  • Music recorded in Chartres Cathedral in the resonant space of the labyrinth
  • Chartres World Heritage Site in panographies – 360 degree interactive imaging
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