Sainte Chapelle, Paris

Last updated on May 24th, 2023

Along with Notre-Dame, the other highlight of Ile de la Cité is a visit to the royal chapel of Sainte Chapelle.

The chapel is tucked away in a complex that today serves as the Paris law courts. However, when it was completed in 1248, Sainte Chapelle was part of the royal palace of Louis IX.

Because the royal family entered directly from the palace, there was no street-level entrance. Today tourists enter the chapel via a cramped spiral staircase.

It’s hard to believe this rather primitive stairway leads to something wonderful, but then I reach the chapel itself and step into a stunningly beautiful glass jewel box.

Of course the glass immediately commands my attention. How could it not? The whole room is bathed in the ethereal light that streams through the soaring windows. The entire rooms glows.

It would take weeks just to really look at the 1000 or more religious scenes illustrated in the windows, but there are lots of other details worth noting too!

Every surface has been carefully decorated. It’s so beautiful just as it is, that it is hard to imagine how it looked with its original furnishings in place. It seems perfect as it is now.

Back down the stairs we take our time looking over the brilliantly painted space used by commoners and the palace servants.

It’s lovely, but I wonder if the people worshiping here had any idea what was in the chapel above.

Springtime in Paris

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