Pilgrims have traveled to Chartres for centuries, long before the present cathedral of Notre-Dame which was rebuilt in the late 12th century, after a devastating fire. Notre-Dame de Chartres has inspired pilgrims with its imposing façade, tall towers, and breathtaking stained glass windows.
As early as 100 BC, the Druids considered this place sacred and converted to Christianity approximately 45 AD. In 876, the Sacred Tunic, alleged to have been worn by the Blessed Virgin at time of Jesus’s birth, was given to Chartres by Emperor Charles II. Over time many pilgrims flocked to see this holy relic. After a fire in 1194, the cathedral was rebuilt and was completed around 1220. During the French Revolution, the Sacred Tunic was cut up and dispersed; however, part has been recovered. The cathedral is best known for its 12th & 13th century stained glass windows, which were created between 1210 and 1250 and are awe-inspiring in their craft and continuity of vision. The building, built in the Latin-cross-plan and inspired by the Abbey of Saint Denis in Paris, is 428 feet long, and its vault rises 118 feet. Notre-Dame de Chartres then inspired French Gothic art throughout the following centuries. UNESCO declared the cathedral a World Heritage Site, calling it the “high point of French Gothic Art” and an “essential landmark in the history of medieval architecture.”
Accommodation: Most people who visit Chartres do so on a day trip from Paris. If you choose to stay overnight, there are many 3* and 4* hotels in the Chartres area.
Transportation: Chartres is approximately a 1.5 hour (55 mile) drive from Paris. Train: Chartres is a 50 minute train ride from Gare Montparnasse Station in Paris. Trains depart frequently for Chartres throughout the day.