Administrative centre of the département of Eure-et-Loir in northwest France, 96 km/59 mi southwest of Paris on the River Eure; population (2005 est) 40,000. The city is an agricultural centre for the fertile Plaine de la Beauce. The twin-spired cathedral of Notre Dame, completed about 1240, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a world heritage monument (see Chartres Cathedral); the city also has other medieval churches and some fine old houses, and attracts large numbers of tourists.
Chartres is in two parts – a historic upper town with its medieval cathedral, and a more modern lower town. The two parts are connected by steep roadways. It has an important grain market, and there are metal, electronic, and car accessory industries here.
History Chartres was burnt down by the Normans in 858 but withstood a Norman siege in 911. In 1417, during the Hundred Years' War, it fell into the hands of the English, who lost it again in 1432. In 1591 it was taken by Henry IV of France, who was crowned in Notre-Dame cathedral in 1594. During the Franco-Prussian War it was captured by the Prussians. Chartres was badly damaged during World War II, but has been restored.