One of the most iconic vestiges of the Middle Ages in France, the Chartres Cathedral is a magnificent example of the goal of medieval architecture: to reach as high as possible to God.
The Cathedral's Origin
The city of Chartres wished to express their thanks to God and the Virgin for their prosperity in the Middle Ages, thanks to their position as the seat of four trade fairs each year in the Loire Valley. Thus, to convey gratitude, and to store the alleged relic of the robe that Mary wore while giving birth to Christ.
Known in Latin as the sancta camisa, the cloth of Mary gave great prestige to the Cathedral, making it an unmissable stop for followers of the cult of the Virgin. A fire in 1194 nearly destroyed the sacred relic (caused by a bolt of lightning), but three days after the fire the cloth was found unharmed. The ordeal was considered a miracle, and a sign from Mary that a more grand cathedral must be built on the spot to commemorate her glory.
The cathedral escaped destruction during the Revolution and the horrors of the two World Wars.
A rare blend of architecture and decoration
A destination for pilgrims for over a thousand years, the Cathedral of Chartres, located on the plain of Beauce, was severely damaged by a number of fires. The façade and one of the spires date from the 12th century, the second spire was built in the 16th century on a 12th century base while the nave and chancel go back to the 13th century. From the top of the Jehan de Beauce tower, visitors can enjoy superb views of the surrounding country and take a close-up look at the Cathedral’s Gothic architecture.
One of the most stunning facets of the cathedral is the lighting—no sunlight passes through clear windows, but through stained glass. The illumination in the cathedral is equal parts haunting and beautiful, highlighting the importance of light and darkness in Catholicism. The windows are still the originals , an incredibly rare find even in France.
The Cathedral was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979.
- 2nd May to 31st August: from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- 1st September to 30th April: from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday mornings
- 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November and 25th December
- Unaccompanied tour
- Guided tour: Every Saturday and Sunday in low season at 3 p.m., everyday from May to August and during school holidays at 4 p.m.
- Rate for tourism professionals and groups (minimum 20 people) 6 €
- Adults 7,50 €
- Concessions 4,50 €
- Free admission: minors under 18*
- Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France)
* excluding school groups
- Bicycle stand (south square)
- Parking for coaches 300 m (bd de la Résistance and street of la Couronne)
- At the intersection of the roads between Paris/Le Mans and Rouen/Orléans
- From Le Mans: A11, exit 3, then RN10, Cathedral of Chartres
- From Paris: A11, exit 2, then RN10, Cathedral of Chartres
- From Rouen or Orléans: RN154, Cathedral of Chartres
Tours de la cathédrale de Chartres
tel.: (33) (0)2 37 21 22 07