Chartres Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres) is located in the medieval town of Chartres, about 50 miles from Paris. Chartres Cathedral is one of the greatest achievements in the history of architecture and it is almost perfectly preserved in its original design and details.
In addition to its architectural splendor, Chartres Cathedral has been a major pilgrimage destination since the early middle ages. According to popular belief, Chartres Cathedral has housed the tunic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sancta Camisia, since 876. The relic was said to have been given to the cathedral by Charlemagne, who received it as a gift during a trip to Jerusalem. Chartres has been a very important Marian pilgrimage center and the faithful still come from the world over to honor the relic. In 1020, a glorious new Romanesque basilica with a massive crypt was built under the direction of Bishop Fulbert and later Geoffroy de Lèves. The cathedral survived a fire in 1134 that destroyed much of the town. On the night of June 10, 1194, lightning ignited a great fire that destroyed all but the west towers, the façade and the crypt. Sancta Camisia was found unharmed in the treasury after three days, it was attributed as a miracle. After reconstruction, On October 24, 1260, Chartres Cathedral was finally dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX and his family. The cathedral was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.