The Sainte-Chapelle is a grandiose masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It was built in only 7 years by Saint-Louis (Louis 9) in 1241 in order to welcome the relics of the Christ (including the crown of thorns). Today, the relics have left Sainte-Chapelle and are exposed in Notre-Dame.
Visit the Sainte-Chapelle: useful information
Adress: 6 boulevard du Palais – 75001 Paris (Métro Cité).
Open daily from 9h30-13h to 14h15-18h
Price: 10 Euros / reduced price: 8 Euros
History of the Sainte-Chapelle
The Sainte-Chapelle is nestled – almost hidden – in the courthouse of the city of Paris and unfortunately remains less visited than Notre-Dame. In fact, since its construction the Sainte-Chapelle has never had the vocation of being opened to the public as it was the case for Notre-Dame. The Sainte-Chapelle’s function was to protect the relics of the Christ. This is why Saint-Louis wanted to built a “jewel case” made of glass in order to venerate them.
In addition to the crown of Christ acquired in 1239 for an enormous sum (50% of the taxes of the time), Louis 9 had also acquired blood from Christ, parts of the spear, the sponge, the Holy Shrine, the hair of the Mary.
Visit the Sainte-Chapelle
The visit begins in the lower chapel. It is built on the model of a crypt (it’s dark) and was used in the time of St. Louis for the offices of the nobles and the staff of the courthouse (located next door). Everywhere on the walls are depicted flowers of lilies (representing royalty) and castles of Castile in reference to his mother from Castile:
The higher chapel was reserved for the king and it is the most admirable part of the visit.
You have access to it by a banal stone staircase and once you enter the higher Chapel … wow! It’s like taking a slap in the face with light and colour! The show is magnificent and grandiose ! It must be said that the restoration of the Sainte-Chapelle is recent and its stained-glass windows glisten in all colors… I recommend you to make this visit by a beautiful sunny day for a better effect!
The higher chapel is a technical feat: the vault, measuring 20 metres high, is as if suspended in a vacuum and it is difficult to understand how the walls fit together. Moreover, the architects of the Middle Ages made the stone disappear, leaving only stained-glass windows on the walls which describe 1113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments: