Tucked away in the Ile-de-la-Cité lies the magnificent Sainte-Chapelle. Built to house the relics of the Passion of the Christ, the chapel features beautiful stained-glass windows depicting some of the most well-known biblical tales. Carefully constructed between 1242 and 1248 under the rule of Louis IX, it is comprised of two sanctuaries: one for the public and one exclusively for the royals.
The lower sanctuary, built for the public, houses the oldest wall painting in Paris, a scene from the Annunciation. A statue of the Virgin Mary stands at the door surrounded by columns featuring the fleur-de-lys and the towers of Louis IX’s mother, Queen Blanche de Castile.
As you step inside the upper sanctuary, you are surrounded by the gleaming reds, blues, and greens of 15 stained glass windows. Fourteen of the impressive windows depict over 1,113 biblical scenes and are read from left to right from the bottom upwards. The 15th window, noticeably different from the rest, tells the tale of the relics and is read in a zig-zag pattern.
The chapel, a masterpiece of High Gothic architecture, served as home to the 22 relics of the Passion of the Christ until the Revolution, when the majority of the relics were destroyed. Those that survived have since been transferred to the treasury of the Notre-Dame de Paris, where they remain to this day.
Although the Revolution took its toll on the chapel, it underwent a massive restoration in the 19th century to preserve its fading glory. Today, after years of restorative work, the Sainte-Chapelle is truly a sight to behold. When you step inside, you can’t help but feel captivated by its gorgeous detail and magnificence presence, remnants of a glorious age in the history of France.
For whom: Everybody!
How much: 6.50€ to 8.50€, FREE -18, audio guide 3€ to 4.50€
Duration: roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour
Please note: Do not bring any sharp metal objects with you, as there is a thorough security check at the entrance.