About Sainte Chapelle
The chapel suffered tragic destruction in the late eighteenth century, during which the baldachin and the steeple were removed. Some of the relics were dispersed and also various reliquaries like the Grande Châsse, were melted down. The chapel as it appears today is due to the restoration done in the nineteenth and twenty-first century.
How to Reach Sainte Chapelle
It is located exactly on 8 Boulevard, and you can take either of the following routes to reach here.
You can take any of the metros: Metro-1, Metro-14, Metro-4 to reach here. Although the recommended option would be Métro Line 4 will take you to the Cité stop, and you will have to walk a block up the Rue de Lutèce to the Palais de Justice. The Sainte-Chapelle entrance will be to the left of the Palais with its gilded iron gates.
You can take either of the Bus-21, Bus-24, Bus-27, Bus-85 or Bus-96 to reach this chapel. You can also take the Batobus, stopping on the Left Bank across Nôtre-Dame.
To reach this chapel by car or a bike, all you need to do is follow the banks of the Seine river to Châtelet or Saint-Michel, and then boulevard du Palais.
Best Time to Visit Sainte Chapelle
The best time to visit this chapel is on a weekday when you’ll find less crowd. You should avoid visiting the chapel on Thursdays as they are the busiest day of the week and you’ll witness a major crowd over here.
Other Essential Information About Sainte Chapelle
Location: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
1. From 2nd January to 31st March
History of Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle, also known as the Holy Chapel, situated in the giant courtyard of Île de la Cité, was built with the intention of housing the relics of Jesus Christ from King Louis IX's collection. The relics include the Image of Edessa, the Crown of Thorns, and around 30 other items.
King Louis purchased the Passion relics ranging from Baldwin II, for a price of 135,000 livres. In addition to being a worship house, this chapel played a very prominent role in fulfilling the cultural and political ambitions of the king. Fitting into a prolonged tradition of prestigious palace chapels, the Sainte-Chapelle elevated Louis' architectural and artistic patronage.
It led to position him as the monarch of western Christendom. The two-story chapel was inspired by Charlemagne's palatine chapel located at Aachen. The captivating stained glass panes arranged across 15 windows with each being 15 metres high, depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments portraying the history of the world.
About Upper Chapel and Lower Chapel
The royal chapel with a Rayonnant Gothic architectural style is divided into an upper and a lower chapel. The division into lower and upper chapels is distinctly marked by a string-course. Lower walls of the chapel are pierced by windows having a spherical triangle shape.
The lower chapel served as a parish church for all the palace inhabitants. The chapel’s polychrome decorations belong from the restoration in the 1800s, but the designs are based from the medieval period. The deep blue ceiling having fleur-de-lis patterns, in addition to the painted columns with its gilded fleur-de-lis and Castilian castle motifs evidently display the mesmerizing beauty of Gothic architecture.
Interesting facts about the Sainte-Chapelle
- The architect of this gloriously designed chapel still remains unknown. Although there are many theories about the designer, nothing has ever been proven.
- The chapel had to be completely restored in the 19th century due to its destruction during the French revolution. Although the embellishment of the upper chapel is based on drawings and descriptions of the original architecture, the lower chapel had to be reinvented due to lack of any documentation.
- Every year on Good Friday, Saint-Louis displayed the relics to the Parisians from the altar.
- Unlike the stained glass, the rose window having 87 petals, does not date back to the 13th century but is instead from the 15th century. This window is considered to possess a Flamboyant Gothic style and illustrates Saint John’s Book of Revelation.
- The stained glass windows of the upper chapel are made of 618 m2 of glass, which is a striking combination of weight and balance.
- The stained glass windows depicting around 1,113 biblical scenes, were created with the intention to help illiterate people to understand the stories from the Bible. These lancets should be read from left to right and working from the bottom up.
- The elaborate and large silver chest that King Louis used to store his Passion relics was costlier than building the whole Saint-Chapelle, 100,000 livres as opposed to the 40,000 livres to build this chapel.
Tips for visiting Sainte-Chapelle
- To save some time from those hassling long lines, you must surely choose visiting Sainte-Chapelle along with Conciergerie that is just 100 m away. A dual ticket at Conciergerie will cost you 12.50 Euros per adult.
- The chapel remains closed from 1 pm to 2 pm, hence plan your itinerary accordingly.
- Purchasing an advance timed-entry ticket would be a great option as this way you can skip waiting in the queue and get more time to explore this marvellous chapel.
- Sainte-Chappel and Justice Palace share the same security check and entrance so you can use the same ticket to view an additional monument.