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Chartres is truly one of the greatest of all French Gothic cathedrals.

From a distance it seems to hover in mid-air above waving fields of wheat, and it is only when the visitor draws closer that the city comes into view, clustering around the hill on which the cathedral stands.

Its two contrasting spires—one, a 349-foot plain pyramid dating from the 1140s, and the other a 377-foot-tall flamboyant spire from the early sixteenth century—soar upward over the pale green roof, while all around the outside are complex flying buttresses.

The plan is cruciform, with a 92-foot-long nave and short transepts to the south and north.

Construction was renewed in 1145 amid great popular enthusiasm.