Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) is a medieval Gothic chapel. Its construction began after 1239, and it was consecrated in 1248. France’s King Louis IX commissioned it so that he would have a place to store his collection of passion relics. The cathedral was damaged during the French Revolution and restored during the 19th century. The cathedral is said to be a prime example of Rayonnant Gothic architecture. It has one of the best collections of 13th century stained glass in the world.
We purchased our tickets for Sainte-Chapelle ahead of time to decrease the amount of time that we spent waiting in line. I got pretty good at navigating websites in French in order to purchase tickets in advance. We attempted to visit the chapel on our first day in France; however, we were turned away and notified that the chapel was closed because they were in the process of removing tarps from some of the windows that had just finished being restored. The man that we spoke with told us that we should come back the next day because the work would be finished — talk about good timing! We went to Sainte-Chapelle on the same day that we visited Musee d’Orsay. The stained glass was beautiful, and we were provided with a guide so we were able read about the Bible stories the stained glass is depicting — it was nice to actually know what we were looking at for a change.
If you’re planning on taking photographs in Sainte-Chapelle, you may want to consider going on a day when there is lots of sunshine in the forecast, as the chapel is dimly lit. If you want to get good photographs of the outside of the chapel, consider bringing a fish-eye lens; there are other buildings in close proximity to the chapel that make it difficult to get good photographs without a wide-angle lens. Sadly, I did not have my fish-eye lens with me at the time.
Here’s a link to the Imgur photo album containing the photos in this post.
Exterior of Sainte-Chapelle
There was so much to look at that it was almost overwhelming. I’m sure that there are many things within the cathedral that I didn’t notice, though I tried hard to take it all in.
Overall View of Sainte-Chapelle
Depiction of Frog Plague, The Second Plague in Exodus
We weren’t able to get close enough to all of the stained glass panels to be able to see them, but the overall effect of the colors was beautiful, nonetheless.
Stained Glass Panels
The ceiling was magnificent, as well, bringing to mind a night-sky full of stars.
Ceiling, Altar, & Stained Glass Panels
Stained Glass Panel
There were twelve statues, one for each of the twelve apostles.
Statue of An Apostle
Even the tiles on the floor were intricately designed and beautiful.
Bird Floor Tile
Fleur-de-lis Floor Tile
A Painted Column