Sainte Chapelle

Have you ever been to a place and were so surprised by its beauty that your mouth literally fell open? Were rendered speechless? This is exactly what happened to me while visiting Sainte Chapelle in Paris.

#saintechapelle

In hindsight I wondered how could I have overlooked such a wondrous place? After all I do pride myself on being a knowledgable traveler. With almost unlimited information available it’s hard to believe I had never heard of these places, which played such important roles in French history, Sainte Chapelle and the Palace of Justice. That said, I’m giving myself a break because while I do appreciate love my expansive collection of guide books, I also think that an important part of being a good traveler is the ability to wing it, go with the flow and embrace the unexpected.

#palaceofjustice
The Palace of Justice (photo taken during our 2013 visit)

So, it was while we were doing just that, winging it on our last day in Paris, that we decided, as we happened to be walking by, to enter the Palace of Justice. The ticket clerk asked if we also wanted to see Sainte Chapelle … sure, “why not?” we said, completely clueless.

Sainte Chapelle

#saintechapelleConfession: It wasn’t immediately upon entering Sainte Chapelle that I discovered her jaw dropping beauty, I blundered around a bit first. Wondering, Is this it? It’s so small, there must be more? What am I missing? Turns out a lot!

Noticing the items for sale at the souvenir counter had photos of what looked to be a lovely, but obviously different place. I decided to enquire, “This is lovely, but is there more?” I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it amounted to: Yes, just over there through that tiny hardly noticeable nondescript door over in the corner .

Sainte Chapelle Paris France

As I emerged from the doorway into the main part of the chapel my mouth literally fell open. I was completely surrounded by jaw dropping beauty. No photo can really do it justice. The Stained glass was shimmering in the sunlight, the golden paint on the ceilings was glowing, I know I gasped in surprise and delight! I couldn’t get enough, and even joked that a place this beautiful could actually get someone to convert!

#saintechapelle

#saintechapelle

Saint Chapelle, is showing her age and is currently undergoing a lengthy renovation, however in my opinion this faded splendor, as I like to call it, only added to her charm.

The Palace of Justice

#palaceofjustice
Even on a sunny day the light inside the Palace of Justice was dim.

Adjacent to the  Sainte Chapelle and beautiful in its own right is the Palace of Justice. Once the Palais Ile de Cite, it was home to French royalty until the 1400s. Later it became a revolutionary prison, at which time Sainte Chapelle became a place of final confession and prayer for those condemned by the tribunal. One such person, was Marie Antoinette and there is a memorial to both her and Louis XVI in the Palace.

#palaceofjustice
Stretching their legs a bit inside the Medieval Hall at the Palace of Justice.
#palaceofjustice
The memorial to Marie Antoinette and Louise XVI is through these curtains.

Tips and information:

  • To skip the line at Sainte Chapelle purchase your tickets inside the Palace of Justice, which seemed to be less crowded.
  • The medieval hall and exhibitions representing the revolutionary prison are fascinating and tied in perfectly with our recent trip to Versailles.
  • There is a lot to see and learn here, but we were able to see everything in about an hour, which appealed to my little one.
  • Sainte Chapelle was commissioned in 1238 by Louis IX to hold his collection of holy relics including Christ’s crown of thorns. The chapel sustained damage during the Revolution and the crown of thorns along with other surviving relics were moved to Notre Dame de Paris.
  • Like Notre Dame, the chapel was restored by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
  • The impressive stained glass inside the chapel, of which 2/3 is original, tells the story of both the old and new testaments.

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43 thoughts on “Sainte Chapelle

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a set of stained glass windows as splendid as this. I like the contrast between them and the darker Palace too. I really must go here next time I’ve over there. Like you I can’t believe I haven’t visited yet! #citytripping

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  2. Gorgeous photos – Sainte Chapelle is one of my favourite places in Paris, but you’re right, it seems so small and often overlooked for Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur that people don’t expect those glorious colours. So beautiful and the history there is fascinating. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

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  3. So, your jaw dropped when you visited this place and my jaw dropped when I saw your pictures. I totally get why you got all surprised. Stunning place! Sadly, I have not been to neither of the places you highlight in here . I hope to go back to Paris one day. And, I like how you said that sometimes travelers have to “wing it.” I have done that a lot of times and the results have been great! #FarawayFiles

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  4. The stained glass windows certainly are jaw-dropping – just from your photos. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this place! Thanks for the insight…I’ll be seeking it out next time I’m in Paris #citytripping

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  5. So beautiful, Hilary. I’m so happy that you took these photos for the rest of us. I visit Paris a lot and even lived there for a year but I’ve never actually been in. Definitely going to rectify that next time! Thanks so much for sharing on #FarawayFiles

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  6. Isn’t it amazing the things that pop up on our travel radar that we MUST see and those we just discover. I was the opposite – for some reason, Ste. Chappelle was one of those things I HAD to see when I first visited backpacking so many years ago! We are headed to Paris next week and will definitely put back on the potential list. Curious what your teenager though of the place? Was he impressed? I usually don’t get to put many churches on the itinerary! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

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    1. Have a wonderful time! I do envy the ease of travel within Europe! My teen thought it was beautiful, but all three of my boys grew tired of it long before I did. Normally they sit in a pew and wait, so it was an improvement…

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  7. Sainte Chapelle is so beautiful! I’ve already been there, but I’d like to go back, except that every time that I pass by the queue is so long that I can’t visit! ;))

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  8. It seems strange that this jewel doesn’t feature more in the guide books, because I’ve never seen anything as breathtakingly lovely. Congratulations on your superb photos. I found this place entirely by accident when I bought a ticket to visit the Conciergerie for research, and the ticket included a visit to La Sainte Chapelle. I nearly didn’t go – I’m not religious – but I’m so pleased I did. What a wondrous, magical place.

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  9. Your photos are so beautiful! I’ve actually never been to Sainte Chapelle despite all the time I spent in Paris (I’m ashamed to admit it!) I avoided anything with an entrance fee in the earlier days, but I can see why Sainte Chapelle is worth it! Thanks for the tips 🙂 #AllAboutFrance

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