Today I have started the Sacred Numbers retreat with Caroline Myss, Andrew Harvey etc. I am really enjoying it only after one session! Today I am also going to write about the history of Chârtres and that is the French town that we are staying in and really enjoying. I really hope you enjoy todays blog post because I worked really hard on this post!
HIGH MIDDLE AGES
During the period of the Gallic independence, a market/small town was founded on the Autura (today’s Eure River): Aurikon, meaning “Port on the Eure”. The town would become a capital for the Carnutes, from whom Chartres derives its name. Under the Roman rule, Autricum became an important city and was the siege of a diocese at the end of the 4th century. Sacked by the Normans, the town and the cathedral were given new life by the donation of “Mary’s Veil”, a holy relic, by Charles the Bald in 876. In 911, the Viking chief Rollon besieged Chartres. The Holy Relic was placed upon the ramparts. The Vikings failed (in their siege) and beat a retreat. Shortly after, Rollon converted to Christianity. In Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, he signed a treaty with Chartres III, king of France, granting him the entire crown territory of Normandy.
The Earldom of Chartres (also known as the Earldom of Chartres and Blois) reached its peak in the 10th century. Its most famous character undoubtedly remains Count Thibault “The Cheat” (950 to 978). Around 1000 A.D., during the time of Bishop Fulbert, Chartres became an intellectual and spiritual center whose reputation would spread throughout Europe, reaching its height in the 12th century. In 1328, the Country of Chartres, which had been ruled for a long time over by the powerful Counts of Blois and Champagne, was brought within the royal dominion. After the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), Chartres suffered from numerous tragedies, including the Black Death in 1348.
As a result, the town got considerably smaller and the districts lying outside the town walls were abandoned. The war came to a temporary end with the Treaty of Brétigny (7 km from Chartres) signed on 8 May 1360 by the kings of England and France (Edward III et King John II “The Good”).
FROM THE FRENCH WARS OF RELIGION UNTIL THE 17TH CENTURY
The wars of religion and everything that it involves stopped the city evolution. The town was overwhelmed several times during this period (1568-1590). Following the Day of the Barricades (14 May 1588) when the Duke of Guise proclaimed himself King of Paris, Henry III found refuge in Chartres. On 27 February 1594, Henry IV was crowned King of France at Chartres: he was one of the few French kings not to be crowned in Reims. In the literary domain, three Chartres natives gained renown in the 16th and 17th centuries: the poets Philippe Desportes and Mathurin Régnier and the moralist Pierre Nicole.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
The French Revolution would distinguish other Chartres natives: Brissot, leader of Gironde, Pétion, mayor of Paris, Chauveau-Lagarde, lawyer for Marie-Antoinette and Charlotte Corday, and, above all, General Marceau (general at the age of 24, killed at Altenkirchen in 1796 at the age of 27). In addition, it was in Chartres that Siéyès, at the time vicar general, wrote his famous pamphlet “What is the Third Estate?”. On 19 May 1794, the cathedral was consecrated to the “cult of the supreme being”. It was saved by Louis Sergent-Marceau, General Marceau’s brother-in-law (“May it be forever protected from axe and hammer. It – this monument – will forever be for Chartres a treasure, for /because it will offer to art lovers, to foreigners, an object of wonder and admiration”).
FROM THE 19th CENTURY TO THE EARLY AGES OF THE AVIATION
In 1836, an accidental fire destroyed the ancient roof structure. It was eventually recovered in copper. The development of the city’s large thoroughfares would continue into the 19th century and transform the economy. The railway station was inaugurated in 1849 and in 1937 the Paris-Chartres electrical railway was opened. In 1909, Chartres was one of the first French towns to construct an aerodrome, then a flight school that would train more than 3,000 pilots during the World War I.
WORLD WAR II
On 17 June 1940, the prefect Jean Moulin courageously opposed the occupying army’s demands, thus becoming France’s first resistance fighter. He would later become the head of the National Council of the Resistance. In 1944, before being liberated by the 20th U.S. Army Corps and local patriots, the city came under numerous attacks that destroyed Guillaume Gate and the municipal library, one of the finest in France.In 1942, the writer Maurice Clavel joined the Resistance, where he met Silvia Monfort. In 1944, he became head of the Eure-et-Loir’s French Forces of the Interior (“Sinclair”) and took part in the liberation of Chartres.
In 1979, UNESCO registered the cathedral on the 1st World Heritage List. Chartres’ economy is in full expansion. Located in the heart of Cosmetic Valley, the city is today the Capital of Light and Perfume. Chartres is also a really popular destination for spiritual retreats because of its power and integrity!
How I am Feeling
Today I am feeling so lucky and happy that I have the privilege to be able to attend this powerful retreat. There are many older people here and they are so proud of me for coming and they think that I am really brave! Already we have had a lecture and an introduction and I found it really interesting and it has made me even more excited! We have also had a purification where we had water splattered on us and also had oil put in a cross on our for heads. I found it really cool! I am soooooo excited to continue with this course and see what it will bring