03/01/2017

A Parisian Hidden Gem: The Sainte-Chapelle

By Dora Dmitriev

In the heart of Paris, France stands a small Gothic chapel with a humble exterior but a truly breathtaking interior.

 

The Sainte-Chapelle (“Holy Chapel”) was built in the 13th century by Pierre de Montreuil for Louis IX to use as his royal chapel and to house relics of the Passion. 

The Lower Chapel served palace staff. It consists of a low vaulted ceiling that elegantly rests on fine crocketed capital columns that are painted with the French fleurs de lys.

Lower Chapel

But it is the Upper Chapel that makes this a remarkable example of Medieval Gothic architecture. Reduced structural supports allow for 6,456 square feet of stained glass windows. Delicate painted stonework surrounds the stained glass, creating the illusion of a floating space. The vibrant windows have deep red and blue hues and illustrate 1,130 figures from the Bible.

 

Upper Chapel

As sunlight shines through the stained glass, you are enveloped in light and color, an indescribable spiritual experience. The golden framework and fleurs de lys on the ceiling resonate a powerful sense of royalty throughout the colorful, peaceful interior.

Upper Chapel

For such a small space, the chapel has a big emotional impact on its visitors. You can often see travelers brought to tears as they gaze in awe. 

The enchanting chapel makes for a quiet place to reflect as you take in the exquisite scenery. This gem is a must-see when in Paris!