1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eure-et-Loir

EURE-ET-LOIR, an inland department of north-western France, formed in 1790 of portions of Orléanais and Normandy. Pop. (1906) 273,823. Area, 2293 sq. m. It is bounded N. by the department of Eure, W. by Orne and Sarthe, S. by Loir-et-Cher, S. E. by Loiret, and E. by Seine-et-Oise. The Perche in the south-west and the Thimerais in the north-west are districts of hills and valleys, woods, lakes and streams. The region of the east and south is a level and uniform expanse, consisting for the most part of the riverless but fertile plain of Beauce, sometimes called the “granary of France.” The northern part of Eure-et-Loir is watered by the Eure, with its tributaries the Vègre, Blaise and Avre, a small western portion by the Huisne, and the south by the Loir with its tributaries the Conie and the Ozanne. The air is pure, the climate mild, dry and not subject to sudden changes. The soil consists, for the most part, either of clay intermixed with sand or of calcareous earth, and is on the whole fruitful. Agriculture is better conducted than in most of the departments of France, and the average yield per acre is greater. Cereals occupy half the surface, wheat and oats being chiefly cultivated. Among the other agricultural products are barley, hemp, flax and various vegetables, including good asparagus. Wine is not extensively produced, nor is it of the best quality; but in some parts, especially in the Perche, there is an abundant supply of apples, from which cider is made as the common drink of the inhabitants. The extensive meadows supply pasturage for a large number of cattle and sheep, and the horses raised in the Perche have a wide reputation as draught animals. Bee-farming is commonly prosecuted. The department produces lime, grindstones and brick-clay. The manufactures are not extensive; but there are flour- and saw-mills, tanneries and leather-works, copper and iron foundries, starch-works, dye-works, distilleries, breweries and potteries; and agricultural implements, cotton and woollen goods, and yarn, hosiery, boots and shoes, sugar, felt hats and paper are made. Eure-et-Loir exports the products of its soil and live-stock; its imports include coal, wine and wearing apparel. It is served by the railways of the Western and the Orléans Companies and by those of the state, but it has no navigable waterways. The department has Chartres for its capital, and is divided into the arrondissements of Chartres, Châteaudun, Dreux and Nogent-le-Rotrou (24 cantons and 426 communes). It forms the diocese of Chartres (province of Paris), and belongs to the académie (educational division) of Paris and the region of the IV. Army Corps. Its court of appeal is at Paris.

Chartres, Dreux, Châteaudun, Nogent-le-Rotrou and Anet are the more noteworthy places in the department (q.v.). At Bonneval the lunatic asylum occupies the 18th-century buildings of a former Benedictine abbey. The abbey church belonged to the 13th century, but only a gateway flanked by two massive towers is left. The château of Maintenon dating from the 16th and 17th centuries was presented by Louis XIV. to Madame de Maintenon, by whom additions were made; the aqueduct (17th century) in the park was designed to carry the water of the Eure to Versailles, but was not completed. There is a fine château of the late 15th century, restored in modern times, at Montigny-le-Gannelon, and another of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, at one time the property of Sully, at Villebon. St Lubin-des-Joncherets has a handsome church of the 11th century, in which there are stained-glass windows dating from the 16th century.