Sainte Chapelle is a true Gothic masterpiece located on Île de la Cité. Sainte Chapelle was founded by King Louis IX as a chapel for the royal palace.
Sainte Chapelle houses a small chapel downstairs that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The ceilings down here are stunning but are nothing compared to the stained glass windows on the second floor, which will take your breath away.
The stained glass windows in this chapel are possibly the most impressive in the world. There are over 6,000 square feet of well-preserved stained glass that range in color from deep reds to rich blues. The windows picture about 1,100 scenes from the Bible.
Tickets to Sainte Chapelle have the option to include admission to the Conciergerie. This is Paris' oldest prison and the site where Marie Antoinette was held before the her execution during the Revolution. This is a must-see for history buffs.
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heaven on earth
This exquisite jewel box of a chapel is located on Ile de la Cite in the middle of the Seine. Seek it out. If you come to Notre Dame, you are steps away. It is tiny and well hidden, but worth the effort to find. There are actually two chapels: one downstairs (servants' chapel) and this one upstairs with its amazing masterpieces of stained glass for the royalty.
Unsurpassed 13th c. Chapel with Stained Glass Windows
Located mid-Seine on the Ile de la Cité, the jewel-like Gothic Sainte-Chapelle (c. 1239) served as a chapel for the king and his household residing in the neighboring palace, now the Palais de Justice. The king and court used the upper level and household members used the lower level.
Fifteen finely-detailed towering stained glass windows, set in arches in the nave and apse, are the focus of the upper chapel. A large rose window (c. 1490) adorns the western wall. The walls appear to be a mere framework and, amazingly, the arches are not supported by flying buttresses outside. The gable and porch provide support. The building is a miracle of counter-balances. And it works. There has been not a crack in 7½ centuries. One stands in awe of the architect, Pierre de Montreuil.
Despite damage to the chapel during the French Revolution, nearly 2/3 of the windows date from the 13th c. This is the greatest display of 13th c. stained glass still at the original site in the world.
On a sunny day, the light streams in through the ancient windows, creating a blue and red ethereal glow that truly seems heaven-sent.
When we were there (May, 2012), several windows were being carefully cleaned and restored, another example of the love and care France gives its national treasures.
In April and May, Vivaldi. Four Seasons, concerts take place in the upper chapel. A friend told me it was a wonderful experience. Next time!
Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most amazing sights in Paris. The stained glass windows are a marvel. Go first thing in the morning before the lines get too long and see the sun shining through the windows! The fifteen windows depict the stories of the Bible starting at Genesis. This amazing Gothic structure is a must see!