Sainte Chapelle is the royal chapel located on the Île de la Cité in Paris. It was part of the Palais de la Cité which was the Capetian royal residence.
The chapel was built between 1238-46 under the commission of Louis IX. It was built to hold Christian relics such as Christ’s crown of thrones which Louis IX had acquired and thus gets its name ‘Holy Chapel’. This building is an exquisite example of the Rayonnant style of Gothic architecture. The building contains two chapels, a lower chapel at the entrance which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and an upper chapel which houses one of the most extensive collections of 13th century stained glass windows in the world. The chapel was damaged during the French Revolution and converted into an administrative office and archive. Windows had been removed during this to allow more light into the room (and were destroyed or sold) and the use of large cabinets and bookshelves covered the stained glass windows, which ultimately helped preserve them. The chapel was left to decay until 1836 when it underwent a major renovation based on the original drawings of the building. This renovation resulted in the chapel being returned to its former glory. The chapel, along with the Conciergerie, are the only remaining buildings of the original Palais complex. This chapel is a sight to behold and should be high on any travelers bucket list.
Did you know?:
This chapel contains 15 stained glass lancet windows, each measuring 15 meters high. The combined 600 square meter expanse of glass depicts a total of 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. These windows recently underwent a seven year restoration. A layer of thin glass was set over the outside of the windows to prevent exterior damage without disrupting the visual effects of the stained glass.