With its wealth of historically significant monuments and galleries, Paris is definitely the place to visit for acquainting with the rich achievements of the past. It hosts some of the world’s most renowned works of art and architecture from the Renaissance era in the form of cathedrals, palaces, galleries, and lavishly laid out gardens. The Sainte-Chapelle is one such spot located right at the center of Paris within the Palais de Justice complex on the Ile-de-la-Cite.
This royal chapel is a magnificent achievement of Gothic style architecture and towers above the city of Paris. The chapel remains one of the most visited places in the city and is included in many Paris tours programs. Below are some remarkable facts about the Sainte-Chapelle that you will find helpful during your next visit to Paris.
King Louis IX founded the Sainte-Chapelle for using it as a chapel and for housing his large collection of religious relics such as Christ’s Crown of Thorns. The construction of this remarkable chapel begun at around 1238 and was finished in 1248. King Louis IX housed the relics in the chapel that were obtained from Saint-Louis and brought to the Emperor Baudouin II of Constantinople.
The Sainte-Chapelle is considered as one of the best examples of Gothic architecture from the Rayonnant period. The exterior of the chapel bears the typical characteristic of the Rayonnant architecture such as deep buttress with surrounding pinnacles, lavish windows, and crocketed gables. The chapel stands 42.5 meters high and is 36 meters long with a cedar spire that rests on the slanted roof.
Upper and Lower Chapels
The Sainte-Chapelle is divided into two chapels, upper and lower, each one clearly distinguished from the outside. The upper chapel is constructed in accordance with Gothic architecture and was used mostly by the King and his close aides during their reign. The lower chapel consists of a statue of Virgin Mary near the central pier and has walls adorned with trefoiled arcades and medallions denoting the apostles.
Stained Glass Windows
Stained glass windows are one of the most distinctive features of the Sainte-Chapelle. Filling the nave and apse are 15 mid-13th century windows and the chapel is renowned for being the most extensive 13th century stained glass collection in the world. In the upper chapel, 600 square meters of stained glass windows are filled with illustrations of biblical scenes from the old and new testaments.