Built between 1242 and 1248 under order of King Louis IX, the Sainte-Chapelle was constructed as a royal chapel to house the Holy Relics of the Passion of the Christ. These include the Crown of Thorns and fragment of the Holy Cross, which had previously belonged to the rulers of Constantinople when it was the center of Christian power. In purchasing the relics, which far oustripped the overall cost of building the lavish chapel itself, Louis IX's ambition was to make Paris a "new Jerusalem".
Situated on the Ile de la Cité, the central strip of land between two banks of the Seine which defined the borders of early medieval Paris, the Palais de la Cité and the Sainte-Chapelle were badly damaged during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Much of the Sainte-Chapelle was reconstructed, but a majority of the delicate stained glass is original. The sumptuous upper chapel counts a head-spinning 1,113 biblical scenes in 15 stained glass windows.
Location and Contact Information:
Address: Palais de la Cité, 4 boulevard du palais, 1st arrondissement
Metro: Cité (Line 4)
Information on the Web: Visit the official website (in English)
Sights and Attractions Near the Sainte-Chapelle:
- La Conciergerie (remnants of Paris' first royal Palace, more recently used as a prison during the Revolutionary Reign of Terror)
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Latin Quarter
- Boat Tours of the Seine River
Open every day:
- From March 1st to October 31st: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
- From November 1st to February 28th: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closing Days and Times: The chapel is closed between 1:00 and 2:00 pm during the week, and on January 1st, May 1st and Christmas Day.
All visitors must go through security checks at the Palais de Justice. Make sure not to bring sharp or dangerous objects with you as these will be confiscated.
Note: Last tickets are sold 30 minutes before the chapel closes.
Tickets:Adults pay full-price admission to Sainte-Chapelle, while children under 18 enter for free when accompanied by an adult. Disabled visitors and their escorts also enter for free (with a proper identity card). For up-to-date details on admission fees, consult this page at the official website.
The Paris Museum Pass includes admission to the Sainte-Chapelle. (Buy Direct at Rail Europe)