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Facts about Sainte-Chapelle in Paris

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Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle was built in Paris by King Saint-Louis from 1238 to 1246 to host the Christ' Crown of Thorns. Close to Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic masterpiece, has 15 spectacular stained glass windows. Paris monuments.

Sainte-Chapelle quick facts

Sainte-Chapelle is one of Paris' jewels. This 13th century inspired monument features 15 wonderful stained glass windows that should be seen from the inside.

We recommend you to visit Sainte-Chapelle, so close to Notre-Dame and La Conciergerie. To avoid the long queues, go there at opening time. Avoid weekends.

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Sainte-Chapelle visits

Sainte-Chapelle is located 10, boulevard du Palais 75001 Paris. Locate Sainte-Chapelle on Paris map. Entrance fee: 10 euros. Hours: from January 2 to March 31, open every day 9am to 5pm. From April 1 to September 30, open every day 9am to 7pm. From October 1 to December 31, open every day 9am to 5pm. Closing days: January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Details on Saint Chapelle entrance fees and visits
Concerts in Sainte-Chapelle (March to November)

Paris metro: Cité station (line 4). Saint Michel (RER B).


Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle history facts

Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic chapel, built on Ile de la Cité, the Paris Island, in 1246 during the Middle Ages.

King Saint Louis bought the Christ's Crown of Thorns from Constantinople, nowadays Istanbul. The King commissioned Sainte-Chapelle as the crown's shrine in his Cité Palace, nowadays the Conciergerie.

In 1806, the Crown was transfered to Notre-Dame Cathedral where it could be seen every first Friday of the month.

Sainte-Chapelle was the schrine for the Crown of Thorns
Sainte-Chapelle, the shrine for the Crown of Thorns

Sainte-Chapelle detailed facts

Sainte Chapelle was a reliquary built to house the relics of the Crucifixion. In 1239, Saint Louis bought the crown of thorns from Venetian merchants for 135,000 Pounds. Fragments of the Holy Cross were bought from Baudoin II, king of Jerusalem in 1241. Saint Louis did not want these holy relics to be scattered. Such precious relics deserved to be sheltered in a special place. Hence, Saint Louis chose to have a church built inside the Royal Palace on Ile de la Cité in order to emphasize the close relationship between the Holy Relics and the monarchy. Indeed, building Sainte Chapelle was not only an act of faith; it was also a political deed. The church, which has two levels, was consecrated on April 26th, 1248, so it is assumed that Sainte Chapelle was finished at this time. The starting date, however, is still unknown, as is the name of the master mason. The ground level was dedicated to parish services and the relics were kept on the upper level, which was directly connected to the main King council room. This arrangement was probably inspired by Charlemagne's palace in Aachen. Other buildings were later added to Sainte Chapelle. An annex built on the northern side was destroyed in 1777, and there was a staircase which enabled people to reach the upper level on the southern side. From that time on, a choir screen was added to isolate clergymen and upper class people from common people. Sainte Chapelle suffered from several fires (1630, 1777) and one flood. Nor did the French Revolution spare it: the outside ornamentation was damaged, especially the spire, whose fleurs-de-lis were considered a symbol of the French monarchy. Then, during the First Empire, the upper chapel was used as an archive warehouse, which led to severe damage and the stained glass windows were dismantled. Restorations were made in the second part of the 19th century, led by the architects Félix Duban (from 1836 to 1848), Jean-Baptiste Lassus (from 1848 to 1857) and Emile Boeswillwald. Viollet-le-Duc occasionally cooporated with them without ever leading the project. The remains of the above mentioned staircase were destroyed (1849) and a new spire was built (1853). In 1857 restoration of the inside ornamentation was almost complete.

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