The Sainte Chapelle is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris, France. Located in the heart of the city on the Ile de la Cite, this stunning gothic chapel is known for its breathtaking stained-glass windows and intricate architecture. Built in the 13th century by King Louis IX, Sainte Chapelle has been a symbol of French royal power and religious devotion for over 700 years. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history, architecture, and art of Sainte Chapelle, and explore why it remains one of Paris’ most treasured landmarks.
The Sainte Chapelle was built between 1242 and 1248 by King Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis, as a royal chapel for the nearby Palais de la Cite. The chapel was designed to house Louis’ collection of religious relics, including the Crown of Thorns, which he had acquired from the Byzantine Emperor Baldwin II. These relics were considered to be among the most precious in Christendom, and Louis built the chapel to serve as a fitting shrine for them.
The Sainte Chapelle was consecrated in 1248 in the presence of King Louis IX and his mother. Over the centuries, the chapel continued to serve as a royal chapel and was the site of numerous important events in French history. For example, in 1306, Philip IV held a secret trial against the Knights Templar in the chapel, which led to the suppression of the order.
One of the most striking features of Sainte Chapelle is its architecture. The chapel is built in the Gothic style, which was popular in France in the 13th century. Gothic architecture is characterized by its use of pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses, which allowed for taller and more elaborate buildings than had been possible before.
The Sainte Chapelle is a prime example of Gothic architecture. The chapel is divided into two levels, with the lower level serving as a vestibule and the upper level housing the main chapel. The lower level is relatively plain, with simple stone walls and small windows. The upper level, however, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The main chapel is surrounded by 15 stained-glass windows, each over 15 meters tall, which flood the space with color and light. The walls are decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures, and the ceiling is a network of ribbed vaults and pinnacles. The effect is stunning and gives the impression of a jewel box filled with light.
The stained-glass windows of Sainte Chapelle are some of the most beautiful and impressive works of art in the world. Created between 1243 and 1248, the windows depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, as well as scenes from the lives of saints and martyrs. The windows are arranged in three tiers, with the lowest tier showing scenes from the Book of Genesis, the middle tier showing scenes from the life of Christ, and the upper tier showing scenes from the Book of Revelation.
The windows are notable for their use of color and light. The glass is arranged in such a way that it appears to be floating in the air, and the colors change depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun. The effect is breathtaking and creates a sense of otherworldly beauty.
In addition to the stained-glass windows, Sainte Chapelle is home to a number of other works of art. The walls are decorated with statues of saints and martyrs, and the altar is adorned with a 14th-century statue of the Virgin Mary and child. There are also several frescoes on the walls, although most of them were destroyed during the French Revolution.
Visiting Sainte Chapelle
Today, Sainte Chapelle is open to the public and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris. Visitors can enter through the lower level, which houses a small exhibition about the history and architecture of the chapel. From there, a narrow staircase leads up to the main chapel.
It’s recommended to visit Sainte Chapelle on a sunny day, as the windows are at their most beautiful when the sun is shining. However, be aware that the chapel can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. It’s also important to dress appropriately, as the chapel is a religious site and visitors are expected to dress modestly.
If you are planning to visit Sainte Chapelle, it’s a good idea to buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines at the entrance. You can purchase tickets online through the official website of the chapel or through a third-party ticket vendor. It’s recommended to book tickets at least a few days in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak tourist season.
There are several types of tickets available, including individual tickets, group tickets, and combined tickets that include entry to other attractions in Paris. The cost of tickets varies depending on the type of ticket and whether you book in advance or at the entrance. Children under 18 can enter for free, but they still need to have a ticket.
Note: you will need to scroll down and select “Sainte Chapelle” > Visit of the monument to book your tickets
When you arrive at Sainte Chapelle, you’ll need to present your ticket at the entrance and go through security. It’s important to arrive on time for your scheduled entry time, as entry may not be allowed outside of your designated time slot.
As you can see, the Sainte Chapelle is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a testament to the skill and creativity of the craftsmen who built it. Its stained-glass windows are among the most beautiful and impressive works of art in the world, and the chapel as a whole is a symbol of French royal power and religious devotion. If you’re visiting Paris, the Sainte Chapelle is a must-see attraction !
Sainte ChapelleSainte Chapelle
ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN10/10 The bestThe Sainte Chapelle is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, with its high vaulted ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and ornate decorations. Built in the 13th century, the chapel is made up of two levels, with the upper chapel being the most impressive. The delicate and detailed stained glass windows, which depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments, are particularly breathtaking and are considered to be some of the finest examples of medieval stained glass in the world
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE8/10 Very goodThe Sainte Chapelle has a rich historical significance, as it was built by King Louis IX to house what was believed to be the Crown of Thorns, one of the most revered relics of Christianity. It also served as a private chapel for the king and his court. Over the centuries, the chapel has undergone many changes and restorations, but it remains an important symbol of French religious and architectural history.
ACCESSIBILITY6/10 NormalThe Sainte Chapelle is located in the heart of Paris and is easily accessible by public transportation. The entrance fee is reasonable, and the chapel is open to visitors year-round. However, there are stairs to climb to reach the upper chapel, so it may not be accessible for those with mobility issues.
VIEWS AND SCENERY10/10 The bestThe views inside the Sainte Chapelle are truly spectacular, with the stained glass windows casting colorful and ethereal light throughout the space. The chapel is located on the Île de la Cité, in the center of Paris, and offers stunning views of the Seine River and the surrounding area.
ENTERTAINMENT AND DINING8/10 Very goodWhile there are no specific entertainment or dining options within the Sainte Chapelle, it is located in a bustling part of Paris with many cafes, restaurants, and shops nearby.
OVERALL EXPERIENCE9/10 AmazingVisiting the Sainte Chapelle is a must-do for anyone interested in architecture, history, or religion. The chapel is a true gem of Paris, with its stunning Gothic design and breathtaking stained glass windows. The historical significance of the chapel adds to the overall experience, and the location on the Île de la Cité makes it a great starting point for exploring other parts of the city. While there are some accessibility issues, the overall experience is one that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors