DREUX, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Eure-et-Loir, 27 m. N.N.W. of Chartres by rail. Pop. (1906) 8209. It is situated on the Blaise, which at this point divides into several arms. It is overlooked from the north by an eminence on which stands a ruined medieval castle; within the enclosure of this building is a gorgeous chapel, begun in 1816 by the dowager duchess of Orleans, and completed and adorned at great cost by Louis Philippe. It contains the tombs of the Orleans family, chief among them that of Louis Philippe, whose remains were removed from England to Dreux in 1876. The sculptures on the tombs and the stained glass of the chapel windows are masterpieces of modern art. The older of the two hotels-de-ville of Dreux was built in the early 16th century, chiefly by Clement Metezau, the founder of a famous family of architects, natives of the town. It is notable both for the graceful carvings of the façade and for the fine staircase and architectural details of the interior. The church of St Pierre, which is Gothic in style, contains good stained glass and other works of art. The town has a statue of the poet Jean de Rotrou, born there in 1609. Dreux is the seat of a subprefect. Among the public institutions are tribunals of first instance and of commerce, and a communal college. The manufacture of boots and shoes, metal-founding and tanning, are carried on, and there is trade in wheat and other agricultural products and poultry.
Dreux was the capital of the Gallic tribe of the Durocasses. In 1188 it was taken and burnt by the English; and in 1562 Gaspard de Coligny, and Louis I., prince of Conde, were defeated in its vicinity by Anne de Montmorency and Francis, duke of Guise. In 1593 Henry IV. captured the town after a fortnight's siege. It was occupied by the Germans on the 9th of October 1870, was subsequently evacuated, and was again taken, on the 17th of November, by General Von Tresckow. In the 10th century Dreux was the chief town of a countship, which Odo, count of Chartres, ceded to king Robert, and Louis VI. gave to his son Robert, whose grandson Peter of Dreux, younger brother of Count Robert III., became duke of Brittany by his marriage with Alix, daughter of Constance of Brittany by her second husband Guy of Thouars. By the marriage of the countess Jeanne II. with Louis, viscount of Thouars (d. 1370), the Capetian countship of Dreux passed into the Thouars family. In 1377 and 1378, however, two of the three co-heiresses of Jeanne, Perronelle and Marguerite, sold their shares of the countship to King Charles V. Charles VI. gave it to Arnaud Amanien d'Albret, but took it back in order to give it to his brother Louis of Orleans (1407); later he gave it back to the lords of Albret. Francis of Cleves laid claim to it in the 16th century as heir of the d'Albrets of Orval, but the parlement of Paris declared the countship to be crown property. It was given to Catherine de' Medici (1539), then to Francis, duke of Alen90n (1569); it was pledged to Charles de Bourbon, count of Soissons, and through him passed to the houses of Orleans, Vendome and Conde.
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