Sainte-Chapelle. Church in Paris, France


Church in Paris, France

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	Sainte-Chapelle - detail - Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle - detail - Sainte-Chapelle. Photo by Randi Hausken
The Sainte-Chapelle is a 13th-century Gothic church in Paris, France, that is known for its magnificent collection of stained glass windows. It is located in the heart of Paris on Île de la Cité, an island in the middle of the River Seine, near Notre-Dame de Paris and Pont Neuf.


The Sainte-Chapelle was constructed in the mid-13th century as a chapel within the Palais de la Justice to hold relics of Christ belonging to King Louis IX (Wikipedia Article) of France, which he had purchased from Emperor Baldwin II of Constantinople. The relics included the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus during his crucifixion and the Image of Edessa, a piece of cloth which was said to feature a miraculous image of the face of Jesus that eventually went missing during the French Revolution. Later relics added by the king included fragments of the True Cross, thought to be the cross that Jesus died on, and the Holy Lance (Wikipedia Article), which was used to pierce his side while he hung on the cross. As the home of such important relics, the Sainte-Chapelle was considered to be a prestigious palace chapel that demonstrated the great importance of the king.

The Glory of the Sainte Chapelle -
The Glory of the Sainte Chapelle - Sainte-Chapelle. Photo by Lawrence OP


This historic chapel is primarily known for its fascinating architecture and impressive collection of 13th-century stained glass windows, one of the largest in the entire world. It is considered to be a great example of the Rayonnant (Wikipedia Article) period of French Gothic architecture due to its vertical emphasis, which can be seen in its extraordinarily high ceilings.

Statues of the Twelve Apostles

When you enter the chapel, the first thing you notice are the magnificent stained glass windows, and the beautiful scenes of saints and martyrs painted beneath them. Between the windows are 12 large stone sculptures that represent the 12 Apostles of Jesus. Six of these immense sculptures are replicas, though the damaged originals can be seen in the Musée national du Moyen Âge.

The Stained Glass Windows

The chapel is primarily known for its fifteen large stained glass windows that date back to the 13th century, as well its large rose window which was added around the late 15th century. The windows depict scenes from the New Testament and the Old Testament, as well as the story of the chapel’s relics, including their rediscovery and relocation to Paris.

The Rose Window

One of the most famous windows within the church is the large, round rose window which depicts the Book of Revelation in 87 striking scenes. It is one of the most photographed windows of the church.

The Exodus Window

This window features 112 scenes which present the Book of Exodus, including God appearing to Moses in several scenes, as well as depictions of Moses as a legislator and religious leader.

The Window of St. John the Baptist

Yet another window showcasing scenes from the Old Testament, this window includes scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist as well as the Book of Daniel. Its most impressive scenes depict the birth of John the Baptist and his martyrdom, while excerpts from the Book of Daniel include the story of Daniel in the lions’ den.

The Relics of the Passion Window

This stained glass masterpiece is especially unique because it depicts contemporary scenes instead of biblical stories, something which was quite rare in the 13th century. In addition to telling the history of the True Cross, which is said to have been found by Saint Helena (Wikipedia
	Article) sometime in the 4th century, it also features 19 panels relating to the transport of the Crown of Thorns to France.

Practical Information

The Sainte-Chapelle is quite easy to find, since it is one of the main monuments located on Île de la Cité, which is not a very large island. The most scenic way to access the church is by walking across the Seine using Pont Neuf, which crosses the tip of the island. However, Paris also has an extensive public transportation system.

Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

By Metro

In order to get to the Sainte-Chapelle by metro, you’ll need to use line 4. The only metro stop on Île de la Cité is Cité, though the Saint Michel stop across the Seine is also quite near to the church.

By Bus

Several urban bus services reach the Sainte-Chapelle, including lines 21, 27, 38, 85, and 96, as well as the Balabus tour bus.


It is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m. (November through February) and 9:30 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. (March through October). The Sainte-Chapelle is also open on Wednesday evenings between 15 May and 15 September until 21:00 p.m.


Admission costs approximately €9 ($10) for adults, has a €6 ($6.90) reduced rate, and is free for children under 18. People between the ages of 18 and 25 who are EU citizens can also enjoy free admission to the Sainte-Chapelle.

Similar Landmarks

Paris is home to several other historic churches, including Sacre Coeur, Notre-Dame de Paris, The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Val-de-Grâce, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Apr 02, 2015

Pictures of Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle. Photo by unknown

Les vitraux du Sainte Chapelle - Sainte-Chapelle
Les vitraux du Sainte Chapelle - Sainte-Chapelle. Photo by Lawrence OP

Sainte-Chapelle Lower Chapel (#477) - Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle Lower Chapel (#477) - Photo by Christopher Chan

Sainte Chapelle exterior - Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte Chapelle exterior - Sainte-Chapelle. Photo by Lawrence OP

La Sainte-Chapelle - Sainte-Chapelle
La Sainte-Chapelle - Photo by Chris Chabot

Sainte-Chapelle - Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle - Photo by nzbuu

Stain glass and roof on second floor of la Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. - Sainte-Chapelle
Stain glass and roof on second floor of la Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. - Photo by Loïc Lagarde


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