La Sainte-Chapelle

004.JPGLa 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.

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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
Métro: Cité
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).
Website: www.sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr

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2 Comments

  1. Posted February 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    One of my favourite places in Paris! For readers please also note that a good way to see this place is at the end of the day when there are concerts from 7pm – check on the posters outside if you are visiting. If you can be here at sunset the stained glass windows are glorious!

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  2. Pamela Breit
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I was told there is a beautiful souvenir shop in the basement of Ste. Chapelle… is that so or is there only one in the lower chapel?
    Thank you

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