La Sainte-Chapelle is a veritable treasure box just waiting to be discovered. Its charm is hidden within the walls of the Conciergerie, the former palace and prison on Île de la Cité. Although more modern buildings now dominate the Parisian skyline, the chapel’s interior retains every bit of its medieval beauty.
Saint Louis built Sainte-Chapelle to house holy relics, such as the Crown of Thorns. Completed in 1248, the chapel remains one of Paris’ most breathtaking sites even sans the relics it once held. Encased within high-gothic architecture is a brightly-coloured sanctuary, painted in blue, red and gold. Ceilings and walls are equally ornately decorated, covered with gems, stones and paintings of saints. The chapel‘s magical quality speaks of unimaginable wealth. Although it has been considerably restored (due to a flood and also damage done during the Revolution), you don’t have to try hard to imagine how it originally was.
Undoubtedly the most fantastic part of the chapel is the stained glass. The upper chapel is almost entirely made of coloured glass and a fantastic rose window. Scenes from the Bible and saints’ lives glow down upon spectators below. You can also see where Saint Louis, his wife and mother used to pray.
This building is a most surprising find. The typical religious architecture outside doesn’t seem to promise the delights discovered upon entering. For those still interested in seeing the relics that used to be kept here, Notre Dame de Paris still has some, and brings them out for the congregation to see every first Friday of the month during the 15h Mass.
Address : 4 boulevard de Paris, 75001 Paris
Tél: (0)1 53 40 60 80
Hours: Open every day, though times may vary. 1 March – 31 October – 9:30am – 6pm. 1November – 28 February – 9am – 5pm. Open on Wednesday evenings 15 May – 15 September (last admission at 9pm).