How beautiful the Sainte Chapelle de Paris is! Would you like to visit it too? Nothing easier! Thanks to our practical guide, prepare your visit to the Sainte Chapelle and spend a pleasant moment in one of the most beautiful religious monuments in Paris.
The Sainte Chapelle of Paris : the little history
Let’s start with some history. Do you know who built the Holy Chapel? It is King Louis 9, also sometimes called Saint Louis. Yet little known, Louis 9 was the King who had the Holy Chapel built in the heart of the Palais de Paris. Very pious, he had it built in the middle of the 13th century without knowing that it would become in the future one of the most beautiful jewels of medieval architecture. Behind this construction, Saint Louis had for ambition to become a king ambassador of the Catholics of France, protector of the French. Once built, it is through the King that communication between God and the kingdom passes.
In 1237, the King was offered a large sum of money to recover the Holy Crown of Thorns, the main relic of Christ’s Passion. The latter accepted and paid a colossal sum to recover the relic that arrived in France in 1239. In the years that followed, Louis 9 bought other relics such as a piece of the Cross or the sponge of Christ. France then gradually becomes a privileged place where the most important Relics of Christianity are located. Instead of placing these in Notre-Dame de Paris (which was still under construction at the time), Saint Louis chose to put these Christian relics in his own Palace. It is for this reason that he chose to build the Holy Chapel which is still located today in the middle of the Royal Palace. The construction of the Sainte Chapelle lasted only 7 years. We are then in the middle of the crusades, and Louis 9 wants to leave to reconquer Jerusalem too. He failed his crusade and remained a prisoner in the East for several years before returning to France to find his Holy Chapel and his relics of the Passion. Even today, the architect of the Sainte Chapelle remains unknown.
The Sainte Chapelle is one of the most beautiful monuments of the time still visible. It is a radiant Gothic Art building with beautiful stained glass windows and a canopy. The stained glass window is coloured in such a way that it isolates the interior of the Holy Chapel in a characteristic dark purple hue. The monument has 2 levels : a low chapel and a high chapel. The first was intended for the staff of the Royal Palace and the second for the King and his entourage. The King could, thanks to a gallery, directly access the chapel from his room. In the upper chapel, unanimously considered the most sumptuous, there are 12 apostles stones arranged all around the main room. Not all the original stained glass windows have survived time, and they represent only a part of the monument. Nevertheless, the restorations have been of a high quality and give the place all its splendour. Along the skylights, different stories from the Bible are told in the form of scenes.
For the anecdote, while searching the floor of the chapel, one finds in 1843 a box with an indefinite object inside having the appearance of a heart. It is suspected to be the one of Saint-Louis.
In 1835, after having suffered many blows of the fate like fires, a great renovation of the Sainte-Chapelle begins. This restoration will last about thirty years.
Course of the visit
To get to the Sainte-Chapelle, go to the Cité metro station and the Palais de Justice de Paris. The complex is immense and today comprises 3 distinct entities : the court, the conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle. Each of the spaces has its own entrance and you will find it without any worries when observing the signs. We advise you to go to the Sainte-Chapelle early if you plan to visit it on the weekend or on a holiday. There are often people and it is not rare to wait more than half an hour.
Once you have purchased your ticket and passed the Vigipirate checkpoint, you have direct access to the Palace courtyard overlooking the chapel. The entrance is through the lower chapel. This one, often much less known than its neighbour above, is however splendid and high in colors of the royalty. From royal blue to golden curves and the fleur de lys, everything is there! The whole is truly beautiful and you will undoubtedly spend a few minutes amazed to observe this jewel of Gothic architecture in silence.
Yet the highlight of the show really comes when one reaches the upper chapel. Immediately an almost mystical atmosphere is felt in the darkness and one cannot help but scrutinize all the stained glass windows as hypnotized. They tell many stories about Christianity, about Saint-Louis but also about the last judgment. Unfortunately it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the scenes from the highest stained glass windows. Take the time to walk and admire what is without doubt one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris today. The visit can take 20 minutes or 1 hour depending on your interest. Either way, we bet you you’ll be amazed!
How to get to the Sainte Chapelle ?
Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Metro Station: Cité
Opening hours: every day from 9am to 5pm (except summer from 9am to 7pm)
Price: 10€ (8€ reduced price and free according to conditions)