If I were to choose between visiting the Notre Dame cathedral and the neighboring Sainte-Chapelle, most often I would choose the latter. Compared to the huge size of Notre Dame, the Sainte-Chapelle is a smaller and more intimate chapel. Despite many visitors flocking this place everyday, it still feels like a hidden secret.
The chapel was constructed within the heart of the Palais de la Cité in the 13th century by Louis IXth. Along with the Conciergerie next door (where Marie Antoinette was jailed before her execution), Saint Chapelle is one of the few surviving buildings of the Capetian dynasty and also one the finest Gothic architecture in the world. The construction of this whole place took eight years, a really short time considering the magnificent craftmanship of the glasswork.
Sainte-Chapelle is a true Gothic gem. Literally a bedazzling, radiant crown jewel. Nothing can truly describe the feeling you get when you first set foot upstairs… It’s like being inside a giant kaleidoscope. Nearly every single inch of Saint Chapelle is covered in beautiful stained glass. Arranged across 15 windows, each 15 metres high, the stained glass panels depict 1,113 scenes from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments and about the Crown of Thorns of Christ’s Passion (acquired by Saint Louis) which was housed in this chapel.
Although some were damaged during the French Revolution (and restored in the 19th century), the chapel still mesmerizes every visitors who set their foot inside. On 2008, experts in art, history restoration and architecture contributed to a project of cleaning and restoring the stained glass (which costed about 10 million euros); after seven years of painstakingly hardwork it was finally open for public again.
Come here on a bright day when the sun streams through the stained glass, illuminating the chapel with the massive kaleidoscope of colors and light in all its brilliant radiance.
8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
Metro Cité (Line 4)11