Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel), Paris

Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel), Paris (must see)

The crown jewel of Gothic architecture in Paris, the Holy Chapel, is located in close proximity to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Aged almost 800 years, the remarkable structure is renowned for its stained glass and most notably the 15th-century rose windows in the upper portion, widely regarded as the finest of their kind in the world. These and other things render this church outstanding, even among the most extraordinary medieval monuments of Paris.

Originally commissioned by King Louis IX, an exceptional figure who led the 7th and 8th Crusades to the Holy Land and returned with a multitude of treasures, including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus himself, the Holy Chapel was initially intended to serve as a depository for this priceless relic. However, it was also designed to function as the palace chapel for the king and the royal family, embodying the intersection of religious and secular power in medieval France.

Over the centuries, Sainte-Chapelle had sustained numerous damages. Frequently beset by floods and fires, it suffered especially during the French Revolution, when its sculptures were intentionally destroyed and furnishings were pillaged. Ultimately, to rectify the damage, extensive renovation work was required in the 19th century, entailing skilled craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. The result of this laborious process is truly commendable, and the chapel we observe today is as much a 19th-century masterpiece as it is a medieval one. Miraculously, roughly two-thirds of the original stained glass has survived. It is particularly striking on sunny days, but even on overcast days, the glass is absolutely fabulous.

Like many other religious edifices of its time, the Sainte-Chapelle symbolized Jerusalem and was intended to invoke a vision of paradise on Earth for the saved at the Last Judgment. In keeping with this vision, a cedarwood spire was placed atop the building, a technical marvel at the time, which also captured the spiky essence of Gothic design to stunning artistic effect. The chapel is remarkably simple and harmonious in comparison to other cathedrals and churches of its era, and represents medieval Gothic architecture in its purest form. In contrast to its apparent architectural simplicity, on the inside, the chapel boasts rich decoration in the upper portion, with its gilding and coloration creating a dazzling visual display.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm (Oct-Mar); 9am-7pm (Apr-Sep)

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Paris. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) on Map

Sight Name: Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel)
Sight Location: Paris, France (See walking tours in Paris)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Paris, France

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Creating your own self-guided walk in Paris is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Le Marais Walking Tour

Le Marais Walking Tour

The district known to locals as "Le Marais" used to be a bourgeois area in the past and a major center of the Paris Jewish community that still exists today. Here, you will find different bookshops specializing in Jewish books, restaurants with traditional Jewish food and a synagogue. As one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, it also has no shortage of narrow medieval streets,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution had a huge impact on France's history as it gave rise to a radical democratic republic and resulted in quite a bit of violence during the infamous "Reign of Terror". Even though many of Paris’ buildings were damaged in the course of the bloody conflicts, the sites they occupied – which you can find on this self-guided tour – are of a great historical...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.3 Km or 4.5 Miles
Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Paris’ Latin Quarter is situated on the left bank of the Seine and dates back to the Middle Ages. For years, it was known as a bohemian enclave, attracting students, writers and intellectuals. Centered on the Sorbonne University's main university campus, the area was so named a few centuries ago because the students were speaking and learning in Latin. It remains very lively, with a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Champs-Elysees Walking Tour

Champs-Elysees Walking Tour

On this self-guided walk you will witness the grandeur of the 8th arrondissement of the French capital – one of its busiest and chic neighborhoods, thanks to the presence of Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, and Place de la Concorde.

Your best plan would be to start with the Triumphal Arch and walk up to its viewing area for great sights down the Champs-Élysées – a lovely...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour II

Paris Introduction Walking Tour II

From the Louvre to the Notre-Dame Cathedral to Place de la Bastille, the evolution of Paris and its history is literally visible on the banks of the river Seine, the linking thread winding its way through the city, as if keeping a watchful eye on its architectural marvels.

This walk is centered around Île de la Cité and Le Marais, which together form the historical core of power in Paris....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour I

Paris Introduction Walking Tour I

The capital of France takes its name from the Celtic tribe of Parisii who, back in the Iron Age, around the 3rd century BC, settled near the river Seine. The Romans conquered the Parisii and established on their land a garrison town which, towards the end of the 5th century AD, fell to the Franks and flourished under their rule. Despite wars, revolutions and numerous social cataclysms, Paris had...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles

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