Chartres (shärˈtrə) [key], city (1990 pop. 41,850), capital of Eure-et-Loir dept., NW France, in Orléanais, on the Eure River. Chartres is of great historic and artistic interest; it is also a regional market with many industries, including metallurgy, and the production of perfumes and electronic equipment. An ancient town, it was the probable site of the great assemblies of the druids. The Normans burned it in 858. During the Middle Ages Chartres was the seat of a countship; it became a possession of the French crown in 1286. Francis I made it a duchy in 1528. Chartres' fame today stems largely from its magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame (12th to 13th cent.), remarkable for its two spires (375 ft/114 m and 350 ft/107 m), its stained glass windows, and its superb sculpture. It is widely considered to be the finest Gothic cathedral in the world. Henry Adams in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres made it a symbol of the medieval spirit. Inside the cathedral St. Bernhard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade (1146) and Henry IV was crowned king of France (1594).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.