Sainte Chapelle (Holy Chapel)
was erected by King Louis IX, during
the XIII century, to house precious relics:
the Christ's crown of thorns that he purchased
from Baldwin II, emperor of Constantinople,
and a part of the holy Cross.
It is renowned for its richly hued stained-glass
windows (above all its rose windows) and it
represents a masterpiece of the Gothic art.
The interior of the upper chapel is an impressive
sight: its walls consisting of the original
13th century stained-glass windows soaring
15 meters to a star-covered vaulted roof.
The windows, separated by stone columns, depict
1,134 biblical scenes, starting from genesis
through to the crucifixion.
In 1239, King Louis IX bought from
Baldwin II, after two years of negotiations,
the holy relics of the Christ. He decided
to build a magnificent monument that could
be worthy of that important treasure.
Besides its beautiful stain-glass windows,
the Sainte Chapelle is characterized
by the beauty of decorations and the elegance
of sculptures. Its sumptuous architecture
and decorations have influence the artistic
and religious creation until the XVI century.
Even if it is not a cathedral, the Sainte
Chapelle deserves a particular attention
for its richness and meaning.
The Christ's crown of thorns, anciently kept
inside the Chapel, is housed today in the
treasure room of Notre dame cathedral.
The interior gives a strong sense of fragile
beauty, created by reducing the structural
supports to a bare minimum. The result is
a feeling of being enveloped in light and
The holy monument has been built by Pierre
de Montreuil, famous architect who had
also participated to the construction of the
Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saint Denis basilica.
Seriously undamaged during the Revolution,
the Sainte Chapelle has been renovated,
during the XIX century, by Jacques-Félix
Duban and Jean-Baptiste Lassus.
The Sainte Chapelle is divided in
The lower chapel is dedicated to the holy
Virgin and it is characterized by a polygonal
The decorations of the lower chapel, which
was reserved to lower ranks of the royal court,
include trilobated arches, 12 medallions representing
the Apostles, Castiglia towers and white lilies
on a blue background.
A spiral staircase gives access to the upper
chapel, preceded by a loggia and a portal
decorated with reliefs representing the Last
Judgment and scenes from the Old Testament.
The holy relics were kept in the upper chapel
that had been conceived as an enormous treasure
The upper floor of this palatine chapel was
reserved to the King.
The elegant proportions and airiness of the
upper chapel, its 15 magnificent stained-glass
windows, separated only by thin columns and
reaching nearly from floor to ceiling, and
its vividly painted columns and panels create
the effect of a sheer blaze of colour and
4, boulevard du Palais
Tel. : 01.53.73.78.51
Cité, Saint Michel
Summer: from 9h30 a.m. to 6h30 p.m
Winter: from 10h00 a.m. to 5h00 p.m.
Full: 5,50 €