What is Chartres en lumières ?

Twenty or so sound and light shows to brighten up Chartres' heritage

Some key elements :

  • The largest event for the enhancement of heritage through light.
  • Chartrain's heritage to be (re)discovered
  • More than 20 monuments illuminated
  • A free event produced by the City of Chartres.
  • An operation that lasts from April to January, 7 days a week, from dusk to 1 am (11:30 pm from October 29).
  • More than one million visitors each year.
  • An internationally recognized technical expertise.

Enhancing heritage through light

Chartres en lumières is a free event to highlight the heritage produced by the City of Chartres. Because of the richness of its programming, its frequency and duration, Chartres en lumières is the largest operation of its kind in the world.

Every evening, from April to January, more than 20 heritage sites in the historic city center are illuminated to take you on a journey through time and space or to plunge you into a colorful, magical world. All the scenographies are looped, so you'll never miss the start!

Thus, thanks to the different artists and their scenographic work resolutely turned towards light, the cathedral, the theater, the media library, the bridges and wash houses and many other heritage treasures are explored, unveiled, revisited.

Chartres en lumières has made a name for itself in the hearts of Chartrains and visitors (and perhaps yours?), eager to see the city lit up again in April, a period that marks the arrival of fine weather and the desire to go out, to stroll, to share moments on the terrace.

An experience renewed every year

To ensure that visitors are amazed, new illuminations are proposed every year and new historical sites are regularly added to the program! And since 2020, the season extends to the end of the year and includes several Christmas-themed illuminations. A great way to perpetuate the magic of this time of year (and to start the next one off right)!

Highlights and animations to mark the season

In addition to the scenographies, the season of Chartres en lumières is interspersed with highlights such as the Festival of Light and the Trail In Chartres en lumières.guided tours of the event are also organized by our partners and can take original forms. And the little train of Chartres does not fail to offer visitors a commented tour of Chartres in lights, comfortably installed.

The birth of Chartres en lumières

Elected in 2001, the new municipal team of Chartres tackled the renovation of the historic heritage of its city center, which it considered to be one of its priority objectives. Several redevelopment projects have been undertaken, stretching from the cathedral to the old medieval gates of the city. In order to highlight this renovated city center, the City of Chartres has chosen to develop events around light. These events aim to bring together the inhabitants and to invite tourists to discover the heritage of Chartres in an unusual way.

In 2003, the City of Chartres created its Festival of Light: on the night of the third Saturday in September (the European Heritage Days weekend), it illuminated certain elements of its heritage in the heart of the city. Given the success of this event, the city decided to make it permanent: in 2004, Chartres en lumières was born! Since then, the city center has been illuminated through its monuments.

A know-how inherited from the Middle Ages

Since the Middle Ages, Chartres has been an important center of work around light and stained glass. Master glassmakers' workshops have been established here and have built up an international reputation. Their know-how has been passed on from generation to generation, and still remains a reference today.

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres is world famous for its stained glass windows and their famous Chartres blue. They constitute the largest set of glass panels from the 12th and 13th centuries in Europe.

Some master glass workshops are still active.

The atelier Lorin

The ateliers Loire

The Ateliers Claire Babet

The atelier Picol

The  International Stained Glass Center

Technical expertise recognized in France and throughout the world

The LUCI network

Chartres joined the LUCI network in 2008. LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International) is the international network of light cities and organizations from the lighting industry and research.

The international territorial expertise label

At the beginning of 2021, the City of Chartres was awarded the EXPE-CT label by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its expertise in the field of "stained glass and the enhancement of heritage through light" for the next three years.

Villes et métiers d’Art

The City of Chartres, labeled Villes et métiers d’Art (Cities and Crafts of Art), deploys a project to study and safeguard this complete heritage. The label brings together 500 municipalities that have an active network of excellent craftsmen and a strong identity, as is the case for Chartres with stained glass.

It is the crowning achievement of the City of Chartres' commitment to the craft industry and will facilitate networking, awareness and the implementation of new actions.