Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris (must see)

The crown jewel of Gothic architecture in Paris, the Holy Chapel, is located not far from the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Aged almost 800 years, the chapel is renowned for its stained glass and most notably the 15th century rose windows in the upper part, widely regarded to be the best of its kind in the world. These and other things make this church outstanding even among the most extraordinary medieval monuments of Paris.

The chapel was built for an exceptional man, King Louis IX, who led the 7th and 8th Crusades to the Holy Land and brought home, among other treasures, what was believed to be the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus himself! Naturally, a precious relic such as this required a depository, but besides that, the Holy Chapel was conceived also as the palace chapel for the king and the royal family.

Over the centuries, the chapel had sustained multiple damages. A repeated victim of floods and fires, it suffered particularly badly during the French Revolution when its sculptures were deliberately destroyed and furnishings looted. Eventually, to mend the damage, in the 19th century a great deal of renovation became necessary involving skilled craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. The result of that work deserves commendation, and the chapel we see today is as much a 19th century monument as it is a medieval one. Miraculously, about two-thirds of the original stained glass has survived. It looks particularly impressive in sunny weather, but even when it's cloudy, the glass is absolutely fabulous.

Just like many other religious sites of the period, the Holy Chapel was a symbol of Jerusalem meant to evoke paradise on Earth for those saved at the Last Judgment. To this end, the building had a cedar wood spire placed on top, which at that time was considered a technical feat. It proved to be just as great from an artistic standpoint either, magnificently capturing the spiky spirit of the Gothic forms. The Holy Chapel is impressively simple and coherent, compared to other cathedrals and churches of that period, 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 part which is truly remarkable and dazzling in its gilding and color.

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. 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 on Map

Sight Name: Sainte-Chapelle
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

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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.
Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

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St-Germain-des-Pres Walking Tour

St-Germain-des-Pres Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

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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
Montmartre Walking Tour

Montmartre Walking Tour

Originally named “Mons Martis”, meaning the “Mount of Mars”, Montmartre is one of the most famous and visited neighborhoods in Paris. Beyond the Sacré-Coeur, the Moulin Rouge and notable landmarks, the district is also about the atmosphere, the narrow streets, and the artsy culture that has made Paris famous. Once home to artists such as Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh, Montmartre continues...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour I

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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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