The Sainte-Chapelle of Paris – in Photos

The Sainte-Chapelle had been a long standing item on my Paris to-do list, but for some reason, I’d never got around to it. I had deemed Notre-Dame and Sacré-Coeur more worthy of my attention – the former for its free entry, and the latter for the views.

It wasn’t until my most recent trip to Paris that I finally managed to visit the gorgeous Ile de la Cité, skip Notre-Dame altogether, and focus my visit on the well-hidden Sainte-Chapelle. I could go on and on about the history and architecture of the place, but few words could render the beauty of this chapel as eloquently as pictures would. See for yourself.

Photos of Sainte-Chapelle – The Lower Chapel

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The Sainte-Chapelle was built sometime around the late 1200s for a precise reason: the King Louis IX of France wanted to house the Relics of Crucifixion he’d just bought. Relics included the crown of thorns, fragments of the Holy Cross as well as instruments of torture. The King wanted to keep these holy relics under one roof – his roof, that is. The chapel was consequently built in the heart of the Royal Palace on Ile de la Cité, in order to emphasise the close relationship of religion and monarchy.

Oddly enough, the Sainte-Chapelle is made of two different chapels – a darker, smaller one on the ground floor, and the most famous, grand one on the first floor. Both are interesting and awe-inducing in their own way. It’s as if you got to visit two different chapels for the price of one!

The Lower Chapel is actually home to the oldest wall paintings in all of Paris, the Annunciation. Historically, the Lower Chapel was reserved for parish services, as well as a worship place for the inhabitants of the Royal Palace.

Photos of Sainte-Chapelle – The Upper Chapel

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The Upper Chapel was always the most prestigious, grandiose one of the two. That’ where the relics were housed at the time, in a large and elaborate massive silver chest, which cost 100,000 livres – the entire chapel, in contrast, cost three times less.

Because of its spectacular architecture, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered one of the finest examples of Rayonnant Gothic, because of its seemingly weightless structure and its very tall stained glass windows. These windows depict, as in most religious buildings, scenes from the biblical history. More specifically, in this case, the iconography strongly focuses on the New Testament (eastern apse), the Old Testament (the nave) and the Book of Genesis (northern wall). The rosary, on the eastern wall, recreates the moment where King Louis IX himself brought the relics inside the chapel.

Unfortunately,  I wasn’t able to fully grasp the grandeur of the Upper Chapel during my visit as the northern wall was undergoing renovations. I can very well imagine just how impressive and spiritual this place can be in its full glory, though.

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The Sainte-Chapelle – Good to Know

  • The Sainte-Chapelle is actually located within the Courts of Justice of Paris. Therefore, there is a mandatory security check.
  • Entry is free for EU residents of under 26, and youngsters under 18 years old.
  • Make sure to visit between 10 AM and 4 PM – that’s when the light will be at its best in the upper chapel.
  • Be patient – queues to get in the Chapel can last up to an hour.
  • There are free guided visits available – check schedule when buying tickets (schedule changes seasonally)

18 Comments on The Sainte-Chapelle of Paris – in Photos

  1. Jenna
    April 2, 2013 at 12:29 am (4 years ago)

    Gorgeous. I studied the Sainte-Chapelle as an art history major but have not visited it. This is the nicest collection of photos I have seen of it.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Jenna! That’s really nice.

      Reply
  2. Cheryl
    April 2, 2013 at 1:55 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful photos! Looks like a lovely place to visit.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm (4 years ago)

      It really was, despite the renovations. I can only imagine how gorgeous it is in its full glory!

      Reply
  3. Lance
    April 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm (4 years ago)

    This isn’t always on the radar of travelers to Paris but it should be. It’s so beautiful and once you’re in it doesn’t require a lot of time. This was an advantage to having the Paris Museum Pass for our most recent trip. I’m not sure we would have visited if not for having the pass that gives access to many attractions in Paris. Your photos are beautiful.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Lance. I’m glad you like the photos!

      Reply
  4. Rosemary Kneipp
    April 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm (4 years ago)

    It is a lovely place. One of the best ways to appreciate it is to go to a concert in the evening, particularly during the long summer evenings – no queues even though I’ve heard better music!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm (4 years ago)

      I wish I’d known about the concerts – sounds magical!

      Reply
  5. Jenna
    April 11, 2013 at 3:14 am (4 years ago)

    Love Sainte-Chapelle! The last time I visited it was under construction as well. It was a bit disappointing after seeing it without the construction first, but it’s still such a pretty place! Great photos!

    Reply
  6. Lyn
    April 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm (4 years ago)

    I visited St Chapelle on my first visit to Paris recently, I can’t wait to go back again. Thank you the beautiful photos. Mine were a disappointment to me.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 18, 2013 at 10:14 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you Lyn. It was actually pretty hard to get good photographs because half the chapel was under repair, but I chose to focus on the details instead :)

      Reply
  7. Jose G. Aguilar
    January 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Marie, congratulations on such beautiful photos. I visited the Sainte Chapelle in 2014 and will be visiting Paris again in May. My sister and brother-in-law will also be visiting. I had suggested to my sister a visit to the chapel and after seeing your photographs, i am certainly going to visit it again. I hope they will too. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      January 6, 2014 at 9:22 am (4 years ago)

      Glad to help! Luckily the renovation works will be done too, giving you a more complete tour of the Chapelle. Have fun! :-)

      Reply
  8. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    February 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m glad you finally were able to cross Sainte-Chapelle off of your Paris to-do list, and that you shared all this beautiful pictures!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      February 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm (2 years ago)

      It’s such a beautiful place! Happy to share.

      Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      February 9, 2016 at 10:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Yes it is! Such wonderful glasswork.

      Reply

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