Sainte Chapelle, Paris - 2020 (Photos & Reviews)

Sainte Chapelle Tours & Activities

About Sainte Chapelle

Built by Louis IX in the 13th century, the Sainte-Chapelle is an architectural wonder and the finest royal chapel built in France. Designed with a Rayonnant Gothic style architecture, this chapel attracts millions of tourists each year. The chapel was commissioned by Louis IX of France in order to display his huge collection of Passion relics. It also houses the relics from the medieval Christendom, Christ's Crown of Thorns. 

It was once a revolutionary tribunal and also a spot where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned. The distinct collection of fifteen glass panels along with a rose window forms a legit wall of light proving the architectural excellence of this chapel.

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.

Despite its tragic history, the Sainte-Chapelle houses the extensive collection of stained glass from the 13th century. All the 15 stained glass windows in this chapel date back to the 13th century. The glass windows illustrate over 1000+ biblical stories starting from the Book of Genesis, leading towards the Book of Esther and the Book of Kings.

How to Reach Sainte Chapelle



It is located exactly on 8 Boulevard, and you can take either of the following routes to reach here.

By Train:
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. 

By Bus:
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.

By Car/Bike:
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. 

The best time to visit the chapel for photography is an hour before the sunset, to position yourself to capture the light coming out through the windows illuminating the stained glass. In case you can not make it during that time, prefer morning time on a sunny day, you will not only avoid the crowds but also be able to take some great pictures.

Other Essential Information About Sainte Chapelle



Location: 
8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

Timing: 

1. From 2nd January to 31st March
It will remain open every day.
9.00 - 17.00

2. From 1st April to 30th September
It will remain open every day.
9.00 - 19.00

3. From 1st October to 31st December
It will remain open every day.
9.00 - 17.00

The chapel will remain closed on 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. Also, no entry will be allowed half-hour before the closing time.

Price: 
11.5€ per individual
Group Price (20 or more) is 9€
School Students (max 35 + 2 escorts) is 30€
Any disabled visitor (+1) and People aged 18-25 from the EU or with a European visa have free admission.

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. 

Upon entering the chapel, your first spot will be the Chapelle Basse (lower chapel), dedicated to Virgin Mary; this base was used as a place of worship by the court members. There are multiple clusters of slender columns supporting the vaulted 7 meters high ceiling arches.

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.

The spiralled stone staircase leads to the Chapelle Haute (upper chapel), the worship place of Louis IX and his family. The highlight of the upper chapel is the stained glass. The 20.5 meters high ceiling seems to float above this stained glass. The Apostles in the niches that were added in the 14th Century are visible, and like the lower chapel, the nave has four bays with taller walls and a seven section choir.

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



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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.
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People Also Ask About Sainte Chapelle

  1. Is Sainte Chapelle free?

    No, Saint-Chapelle is not free, it costs 11.5€ per adult. Free admission is available only for:
    - A disabled visitor and one accompanying person
    Anyone less than 18 years of age (with their family)
    Anyone who is 18-25 from the EU or has a European visa
    Job seekers (upon presenting a proof of fewer than 6 months)
    Teachers holders of an Education Pass
  2. What is the Sainte Chapelle known for?

    The Sainte-Chapelle is especially known for the stained glass windows depicting over 1000+ biblical stories from the old and new testaments. The chapel is also known for being one of the best examples of a Gothic architectural style called Rayonnant. People also come here to view the few surviving relics of the collection of Passion Relics by King Louis IX.
  3. Who was the Sainte Chapelle built for?

    The chapel was built for King Louis IX with the intention of housing his Passion Relics and eventually establishing his dominance with artistic and architectural patronage. Later the Catholic Church even recognized him as a saint.
  4. Can you visit Sainte-Chapelle?

    Yes, you can easily visit the Saint-Chapelle, the Conciergerie, and the Nôtre-Dame Cathedral while planning a half-day visit to the Île de la Cité. In order to reach the Sainte-Chapelle, you can take Métro Line 4 to the Cité stop and walk a block, or you can also take a bus route.
  5. How much does it cost to get into Sainte-Chapelle?

    It costs 11.5€ per adult, but it is recommended to purchase a dual ticket for the Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie for 12.50€.
  6. Can you take pictures in Sainte-Chapelle?

    The Sainte-Chapelle can be a bit challenging for photography. Also, tripods are not allowed in this chapel as with all other Parisian attractions, so you would not be able to take any long exposure shots to compensate for the low lighting conditions. If you want to avoid the issue of the dark environment of the stained glass, you should visit an hour before the sunset or on a sunny day.
  7. Is Sainte-Chapelle worth visiting?

    The Sainte-Chapelle is definitely a must-visit when you are in Paris. The architectural wonder is awe-inspiring, and after setting afoot inside the chapel, you are bound to admire and fall in love with the stained glass windows. The inner chapel and the outer chapel are so captivating; both will leave you stunned with their splendid beauty.
  8. How far is Sainte Chapelle from Notre Dame?

    The road distance is 993 meters between Sainte Chapelle from Notre Dame if you’re travelling via a vehicle. But if you prefer walking, you will have to cover a shorter distance of 626 metres.

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