France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
The Loire is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of 1,012 kilometres, it drains an area of 117,054 km2, or more than a fifth of France's land area, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône, it rises in the highlands of the southeastern quarter of the French Massif Central in the Cévennes range at 1,350 m near Mont Gerbier de Jonc. Its main tributaries include the rivers Nièvre and the Erdre on its right bank, the rivers Allier, Indre and the Sèvre Nantaise on the left bank; the Loire gives its name to six departments: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, Saône-et-Loire. The central part of the Loire Valley, located in the Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire regions, was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO on December 2, 2000. Vineyards and châteaux are found along the banks of the river throughout this section and are a major tourist attraction; the human history of the Loire river valley begins with the Middle Palaeolithic period of 90–40 kya, followed by modern humans, succeeded by the Neolithic period, all of the recent Stone Age in Europe.
Came the Gauls, the historical tribes in the Loire during the Iron Age period 1500 to 500 BC. Gallic rule ended in the valley in 56 BC when Julius Caesar conquered the adjacent provinces for Rome. Christianity was introduced into this valley from the 3rd century AD, as missionaries, converted the pagans. In this period, settlers began producing wines; the Loire Valley has been called the "Garden of France" and is studded with over a thousand châteaux, each with distinct architectural embellishments covering a wide range of variations, from the early medieval to the late Renaissance periods. They were created as feudal strongholds, over centuries past, in the strategic divide between southern and northern France; the name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, itself a transcription of the native Gaulish name of the river. The Gaulish name comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, deposit, alluvium", a word that gave French lie, as in sur lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legʰ-, meaning "to lie, lay" as in the Welsh word Lleyg, which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, law, etc.
Studies of the palaeo-geography of the region suggest that the palaeo-Loire flowed northward and joined the Seine, while the lower Loire found its source upstream of Orléans in the region of Gien, flowing westward along the present course. At a certain point during the long history of uplift in the Paris Basin, the lower, Atlantic Loire captured the "palaeo-Loire" or Loire séquanaise, producing the present river; the former bed of the Loire séquanaise is occupied by the Loing. The Loire Valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period from 40–90 ka. Neanderthal man navigated the river. Modern man inhabited the Loire valley around 30 ka. By around 5000 to 4000 BC, they began clearing forests along the river edges and cultivating the lands and rearing livestock, they built megaliths to worship the dead from around 3500 BC. The Gauls arrived in the valley between 1500 and 500 BC, the Carnutes settled in Cenabum in what is now Orléans and built a bridge over the river. By 600 BC the Loire had become a important trading route between the Celts and the Greeks.
A key transportation route, it served as one of the great "highways" of France for over 2000 years. The Phoenicians and Greeks had used pack horses to transport goods from Lyon to the Loire to get from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic coast; the Romans subdued the Gauls in 52 BC and began developing Cenabum, which they named Aurelianis. They began building the city of Caesarodunum, now Tours, from AD 1; the Romans used the Loire as far as Roanne, around 150 km downriver from the source. After AD 16, the Loire river valley became part of the Roman province of Aquitania, with its capital at Avaricum. From the 3rd century, Christianity spread through the river basin, many religious figures began cultivating vineyards along the river banks. In the 5th century, the Roman Empire declined and the Franks and the Alemanni came to the area from the east. Following this there was ongoing conflict between the Franks and the Visigoths. In 408, the Iranian tribe of Alans crossed the Loire and large hordes of them settled along the middle course of the Loire in Gaul under King Sangiban.
Many inhabitants around the present city of Orléans have names bearing witness to the Alan presence – Allaines. In the 9th century, the Vikings began invading the west coast of France, using longships to navigate the Loire. In 853 they attacked and destroyed Tours and its famous abbey destroying Angers in raids of 854 and 872. In 877 Charles the Bald died. After considerable conflict in the region, in 898 Foulques le Roux of Anjou gained power. During the Hundred Years' War from 1337 to 1453, the Loire marked the border between the French and the English, who occupied territory to the north. One-third of the inhabitants died in the epidemic of the Black D
Eure-et-Loir is a French department, named after the Eure and Loir rivers. Eure-et-Loir is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790 pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1789, it was created from parts of the former provinces of Orléanais and Maine, but parts of Île-de-France. The current department corresponds to the central part of the land of the Carnutes who had their capital at Autricum; the Carnutes are known for their commitment, imagined, to the ancient Druidic religion. A holy place in the "Forest of the Carnutes" used to host the annual Druidic assembly. In the north of the department another pre-Roman people, the little-known Durocasses, had their capital at Dreux. Eure-et-Loir comprises the main part of the region of Beauce, politically it belongs to the current region of Centre-Val de Loire and is surrounded by the departments of Loir-et-Cher, Essonne, Eure and Sarthe; the inhabitants of the department are called Euréliens. The Eure-et-Loir is a department of agricultural tradition, but at the forefront in three economic sectors: The department is a major economic player in the production of grain and oilseed in France.
Its agricultural economy is still dependent on the economic and regulatory environment of the markets for crops. The Eure-et-Loir region is the first grain producer of France, it is the national leader in the production of rapeseed and peas. Wheat production is by far the most dominant in the area. Nearly 40% of all farmland is devoted to the cultivation of wheat, which has generated an average of 29% of the commercial agricultural production of the department over the last 5 years; the "Pôle AgroDynamic promotes agriculture in the department", a grouping of subsidiaries providing added values in different sectors: agro-energy, agricultural materials, Agrohealth. The Cosmetic Valley cluster, around Chartres, the most important centre of the French beauty and well-being industry, with big names such as Guerlain, Paco Rabanne, Lolita Lempicka, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Jean-Paul Gaultier; the Cosmetic Valley represents 2.5 billion euros of turnover, includes 200 companies, collaborates with the Universities of Orleans and Paris and employs more than 30,000 employees.
The pharmaceutical industry, around Dreux and the Polepharma cluster. Created in 2002 under the leadership of CODEL Polepharma is a cluster of French pharmaceutical production which includes companies like Ipsen, Novo Nordisk, Laboratoires Expanscience, LEO Pharma, Ethypharm Famar, Nypro, Synerlab / Sophartex and Seratec; the cluster represents 50 % of drug production in 30,000 jobs. The Pharma cluster is one of the creators of the inter-regional alliance "Pharma Valley" that has partner networks: Polepharma, CBS and Grepic; this alliance represents 60% of the production sites located in France and 2.5 billion euros of turnover. The agri-food industry, promoted by Agrodynamic, with two major companies in the sector: Ebly at Chateaudun and an Andros at Auneau. Woodcraft and furniture industry around the association Perchebois; the rubber and plastics industry, through the cluster Elastopole. The elevator manufacturer Octé has its head office in Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais The department has the lead in renewable energy.
Ranked second nationally in terms of power generation through its wind farms located in particular in the Beauce region of Eure-et-Loir in 2012 will be the largest producer of electricity with photovoltaic French original creation on the airbase NATO disused Crucey-Villages near Brezolles in the region's natural Thymerais, the largest photovoltaic park in France. Given in February 2011 by the General Council to the operator, EDF Energies Nouvelles, the park will cover 245 ha of the military base and produce the equivalent output of 160 wind turbines; the President of the General Council is Albéric de Montgolfier of the Union for a Popular Movement. The most important tourist attraction is the cathedral of Chartres, with its magnificent stained-glass windows. Church: Saint-Pierre of Dreux, Saint-Denis Chapelle Royale of Dreux Beffroi of Dreux Abbaye Saint-Florentin Castle of Anet, of Chateaudun, of Maillebois, of Maintenon, of Montigny, of Montigny-sur-Avre, of Charbonnières, Castle Saint-John, Castle of Villepion, Castle of Reverseaux Regional parc of the Perche Hasting, viking chief, Count of Chartres Hugues Capet Lords of Puiset Fulbert de Chartres bishop founder of l'École de Chartres John of Salisbury, student of Abélard and of Fulbert de Chartres.
British intellectual, friend of Thomas Becket. Bishop of Chartres from 1176 to 1180. Bernard of Tiron, founder of the monastic order of Tiron and of the abbey of Thiron-Gardais. Jean II of France, who signed the Treaty of Brittany during the Hundred Years War at Sours, Brittany Philippe VI of France died at the Abbey of Notre-Dame of Coulombs, near Nogent-le-Roi Rémy Belleau poet of the Pléiade Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette, Duc d'Épernon, minion of Henri III of France. Henri IV of France entombed in Chartres Cathedral Maximilien de Béthune, duke of Sully-sur-Loire died at the château Villebon, buried at Nogent-le-Rotrou) Jeanne of France, born in Nogent-le-Roi, wife of Louis XII of France, canonised by the Pope Pius XII in 1950. Diane de Poitiers Chaïm Soutine Émile Zola, inspired by Romilly-sur-Aigre for his novel La Terre Lolita Lempicka, perfumier who lives in
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre, it is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating. There are 37 bridges within dozens more spanning the river outside the city. Examples in Paris include the Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, the latter of which dates back to 1607. Outside the city, examples include the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links Le Havre to Honfleur; the Seine rises in the commune of Source-Seine, about 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon. The source has been owned by the city of Paris since 1864. A number of associated small ditches or depressions provide the source waters, with an artificial grotto laid out to highlight and contain a deemed main source.
The grotto includes a statue of a nymph, a dog, a dragon. On the same site are the buried remains of a Gallo-Roman temple. Small statues of the dea Sequana "Seine goddess" and other ex voti found at the same place are now exhibited in the Dijon archaeological museum; the Seine can artificially be divided into five parts: the Petite Seine "Small Seine" from the sources to Montereau-Fault-Yonne the Haute Seine "Upper Seine" from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris the Traversée de Paris "the Paris waterway" the Basse Seine "Lower Seine" from Paris to Rouen the Seine maritime "Maritime Seine" from Rouen to the English channel. The Seine is dredged and ocean-going vessels can dock at Rouen, 120 kilometres from the sea. Commercial craft can use the river from 516 kilometres to its mouth. At Paris, there are 37 bridges; the river is only 24 metres above sea level 446 kilometres from its mouth, making it slow flowing and thus navigable. The Seine Maritime, 123 kilometres from the English Channel at Le Havre to Rouen, is the only portion of the Seine used by ocean-going craft.
The tidal section of the Seine Maritime is followed by a canalized section with four large multiple locks until the mouth of the Oise at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Smaller locks at Bougival and at Suresnes lift the vessels to the level of the river in Paris, where the junction with the Canal Saint-Martin is located; the distance from the mouth of the Oise is 72 km. The Haute Seine, from Paris to Montereau-Fault-Yonne, has 8 locks. At Charenton-le-Pont is the mouth of the Marne. Upstream from Paris seven locks ensure navigation to Saint Mammès, where the Loing mouth is situated. Through an eighth lock the river Yonne is reached at Montereau-Fault-Yonne. From the mouth of the Yonne, larger ships can continue upstream to Nogent-sur-Seine. From there on, the river is navigable only by small craft to Marcilly-sur-Seine. At Marcilly-sur-Seine the ancient Canal de la Haute-Seine used to allow vessels to continue all the way to Troyes; this canal has been abandoned since 1957. The average depth of the Seine today at Paris is about 9.5 metres.
Until locks were installed to raise the level in the 1800s, the river was much shallower within the city most of the time, consisted of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy banks. Today the depth is controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is filled with water; the average flow of the river is low, only a few cubic metres per second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy runoff. Special reservoirs upstream help to maintain a constant level for the river through the city, but during periods of extreme runoff significant increases in river level may occur. A severe period of high water in January 1910 resulted in extensive flooding throughout the city; the Seine again rose to threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982, 1999–2000, June 2016, January 2018. After a first-level flood alert in 2003, about 100,000 works of art were moved out of Paris, the largest relocation of art since World War II. Much of the art in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms.
A 2002 report by the French government stated the worst-case Seine flood scenario would cost 10 billion euros and cut telephone service for a million Parisians, leaving 200,000 without electricity and 100,000 without gas. In January 2018 the Seine again flooded. An official warning was issued on January 24 that heavy rainfall was to cause the river to flood. By January 27, the river was rising; the Deputy Mayor of Paris, Colombe Brossel, warned that the heavy rain was caused by climate change, that "We have to understand that climatic change is not a word, it's a reality." The basin area is 78,910 square kilometres, 2 percent of, forest and 78 percent cultivated land. In addition to Paris, three other cities with a population over 100,000 are in the Seine watershed: Le Havre at the estuary, Rouen in the Seine valley and Reims at the northern limit—with an annual urban growth rate of 0.2 percent. The population density is 201 per square kilometer. Periodically
Chartres is a commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in France. It is located about 90 km southwest of Paris. Chartres is famous world-wide for its cathedral. Constructed between 1193 and 1250, this Gothic cathedral is in an exceptional state of preservation; the majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. Much of the old town, including the library associated with the School of Chartres, was destroyed by bombs in 1944. Chartres was in Gaul one of the principal towns of a Celtic tribe. In the Gallo-Roman period, it was called Autricum, name derived from the river Autura, afterwards civitas Carnutum, "city of the Carnutes", from which Chartres got its name; the city was burned by the Normans in 858, unsuccessfully besieged by them in 911. During the Middle Ages, it was the most important town of the Beauce, it gave its name to a county, held by the counts of Blois, the counts of Champagne, afterwards by the House of Châtillon, a member of which sold it to the Crown in 1286.
In 1417, during the Hundred Years' War, Chartres fell into the hands of the English, from whom it was recovered in 1432. In 1528, it was raised to the rank of a duchy by Francis I. In 1568, during the Wars of Religion, Chartres was unsuccessfully besieged by the Huguenot leader, the Prince of Condé, it was taken by the royal troops of Henry IV on 19 April 1591. On Sunday, 27 February 1594, the cathedral of Chartres was the site of the coronation of Henry IV after he converted to the Catholic faith, the only king of France whose coronation ceremony was not performed in Reims. In 1674, Louis XIV raised Chartres from a duchy to a duchy peerage in favor of his nephew, Duke Philippe II of Orléans; the title of Duke of Chartres was hereditary in the House of Orléans, given to the eldest son of the Duke of Orléans. In the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War, Chartres was seized by the Germans on 2 October 1870, continued during the rest of the war to be an important centre of operations. In World War II, the city suffered heavy damage by bombing and during the battle of Chartres in August 1944, but its cathedral was spared by an American Army officer who challenged the order to destroy it.
On 16 August 1944, Colonel Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr. questioned the necessity of destroying the cathedral and volunteered to go behind enemy lines to find out whether the Germans were using it as an observation post. With his driver, Griffith proceeded to the cathedral and, after searching it all the way up its bell tower, confirmed to Headquarters that it was empty of Germans; the order to destroy the cathedral was withdrawn. Colonel Griffith was killed in action on that day in the town of Lèves, 3.5 kilometres north of Chartres. For his heroic action both at Chartres and Lèves, Colonel Griffith received, several decorations awarded by the President of the United States and the U. S. Military, from the French government. Following deep reconnaissance missions in the region by the 3rd Cavalry Group and units of the 1139 Engineer Combat Group, after heavy fighting in and around the city, Chartres was liberated, on 18 August 1944, by the U. S. 5th Infantry and 7th Armored Divisions belonging to the XX Corps of the U.
S. Third Army commanded by General George S. Patton. Chartres is built on a hill on the left bank of the Eure River, its renowned medieval cathedral is at the top of the hill, its two spires are visible from miles away across the flat surrounding lands. To the southeast stretches the fertile plain of Beauce, the "granary of France", of which the town is the commercial centre. Chartres is best known for its cathedral, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, considered one of the finest and best preserved Gothic cathedrals in France and in Europe, its historical and cultural importance has been recognized by its inclusion on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It was built on the site of the former Chartres cathedral of Romanesque architecture, destroyed by fire in 1194. Begun in 1205, the construction of Notre-Dame de Chartres was completed 66 years later; the stained glass windows of the cathedral were financed by guilds of merchants and craftsmen, by wealthy noblemen, whose names appear at the bottom.
It is not known how the famous and unique blue, bleu de Chartres, of the glass was created, it has been impossible to replicate it. The French author Michel Pastoureau, says that it could be called bleu de Saint-Denis; the Église Saint-Pierre de Chartres, was the church of the Benedictine Abbaye Saint-Père-en-Vallée, founded in the 7th century by queen Balthild. At time of its construction, the abbey was outside the walls of the city, it contains fine stained glass and twelve representations of the apostles in enamel, created about 1547 by Léonard Limosin, which now can be seen in the Fine arts museum. Other noteworthy churches of Chartres are Saint-Aignan, Saint-Martin-au-Val, inside the Saint-Brice hospital. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Fine arts museum, housed in the former episcopal palace adjacent to the cathedral. Le Centre international du vitrail, a workshop-museum and cultural center devoted to stained glass art, located 50 metres from the cathedral. Conservatoire du machinisme et des pratiques agricoles, an agricultural museum.
Musée le grenier de l'histoire, history museum specializing in military uniforms and accoutrements, in Lèves, a suburb of Chartres. Muséum des sciences naturelles et de la préhistoire, Natural Science and Prehistory Museum (clo
Loiret is a department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of north-central France. The department is named after the river Loiret, a tributary of the Loire, and, located wholly within the department; the capital of the department is Orléans, about 110 km southwest of Paris. As well as being the regional capital, it is a historic city on the banks of the Loire, it has a large central area with many historic buildings and mansions, a cathedral dating back to the thirteenth century, rebuilt after being destroyed by Protestant forces in 1568. The Loire Valley is famous for its several châteaux. Loiret is one of the original 83 departments, created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790 by order of the National Constituent Assembly; the new departments were to be uniformly administered and equal to one another in size and population. It was created from the former province of Orléanais, too large to continue in its previous form; the Loire Valley was occupied in Palaeolithic times as attested by numerous archaeological sites in the department.
The Celts were here, bringing crafts and trades, the Romans occupied the area after the Gallic Wars. They built roads and founded cities such as Cenabum, on the site of present-day Orléans, Sceaux-du-Gâtinais. Around 451, the Huns were repelled before reaching Cenabum; the Franks reached the Clovis I reigned in the area. A time of peace and prosperity ensued during the reign of Charlemagne; the department of Loiret was in the province of Orléans in north central France, along with the departments of Loir-et-Cher and Eure-et-Loir now forms the region Centre-Val de Loire. To the north of Loiret lie the departments of Eure-et-Loir and Seine-et-Marne, to the east lies Yonne, to the southeast Nièvre, to the south Cher, to the west Loir-et-Cher; the department consists of flat low-lying land through which flows the River Loire. This river enters the department near Châtillon-sur-Loire in the southeast, flows northwestwards to Orleans where it turns to flow south west, leaving the department near Beaugency.
The Canal d'Orléans connects the Loire River at Orléans to a junction with the Canal du Loing and the Canal de Briare in the village of Buges near Montargis. The River Loire and these canals formed important trading routes before the arrival of the railways; the River Loiret, after which the department is named, is 12 km long and joins the Loire southwest of Orléans. Its source is at Orléans-la-Source, its mouth at Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Mesmin. Other rivers in the department, are the River Loing, a right-bank tributary of the Loire, the River Ouanne which flows into the Loing; the department has a total area of 6,757 km2 and is 119 km from west to east and 77 km from north to south. Large parts of the land are used for agriculture, these are separated by low wooded hills and some forested areas; the northwestern part of the department is in the wheat-growing region known as Beauce, an undulating plateau with some of France's best agricultural land. This area was popular with the French aristocracy in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, there are many historic châteaux in the department including Château d'Augerville, Château de Bellegarde, Château de Gien, Château du Hallier, Château de Meung-sur-Loire, Château de Sully-sur-Loire and Château de Trousse-Barrière.
The part of the department south of the River Loire is known as the Sologne and is an area of heathland and marshland, interspersed by hills where vines are grown. The eastern part of the department was part of a province of that name; until the beginning of the 21st century, it used to be renowned for the production of saffron, but the crop could not be mechanised, production dwindled as the cost of production became too high. Of the 1,669,332 acres of land in the department, 975,000 acres are arable, 100,000 acres are vines, 60,000 acres are pasture, 280,000 acres are forested, 16,000 acres are plantations and orchards and 140,000 acres are unproductive moorland and heathland; the soil is in general productive. Other crops include fruit, asparagus and herbs. Vines are cultivated and wine produced, the area is noted for its fruit preservation. Bee-keeping takes place and honey is produced. Loiret has little industrial development, commerce is centred about the sale of corn, cattle, cider, flour, fish, salt and wool.
The only minerals extracted are stone, limestone and clay. The department benefits from its proximity to Paris. Orléans is connected to Paris via fast express trains; the A71 autoroute links Paris with Orléans and Clermont-Ferrand, the A10 autoroute links Paris with Orléans and Bordeaux, the Route nationale 20 links Paris with Orléans, Limoges and Spain. Orléans is associated with Joan of Arc; the Cathedral of Sainte-Croix was built in the Gothic style between 1278 and 1329, destroyed by Protestant forces in 1568, rebuilt between the 17th and 19th centuries. Cantons of the Loiret department Communes of the Loiret department Arrondissements of the Loiret department Prefecture website General Council website Loiret at Curlie