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A little history of Notre-Dame cathedral in Chartres

The cathedral | Marianne Casamance / CC-BY-SA
Cathedral Notre-Dame cathedral in Chartres

Chartres cathedral has kept intact its stained-glass windows and its pavement: you still can see a 290 metres maze on the ground, the only entire one in France! Pilgrims used to walk on it on knees...

You also can see 12th-13th centuries stained-glass windows, with the famous "Chartres blue", composed by city artisans. All these masterpieces were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Several events happened in our cathedral: saint Bernard preached the second crusade; in 1523, king of France François I was prisoner in Spain, his ransom was paid by the cathedral; in 1594, Henri IV was crowned.

On the foundation of the current cathedral, a basilica was put up in the 3th century, many times destroyed by Barbarians, rebuilt, demolished again in 1020. Immediately, kings of France and England, count Eudes of Chartres, duke of Aquitaine Guillaume gave money to bishop Fulbert in order to re-raise the church.

Merchants and gentlemen also gave. Building work began immediately. In the 11th century, Chartres became an important pilgrimage site; indeed!

In 876, king Charles the Bald brought a relic in the cathedral: the dress Virgin Mary wore when she gave birth to Jesus. But in 1194, a fire destroyed the cathedral... but the precious cloth didn't burn! It was a miracle! People started to give money for the reconstruction.

So the current Gothic cathedral raised in about 30 years. The fire spared the royal portal and the Romanesque tower-bell.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!