Sainte-Chapelle, the 13th century royal chapel on the Île de la Cité in Paris, is a masterpiece of medieval Europe.
When you enter the building, you see an attractive but not overwhelming chapel. If it’s your first visit, you tend to be disappointed. That’s because the main chapel is on the second level. You walk up a spiral staircase and find yourself in one of the most beautiful rooms in the world.
Sainte-Chapelle’s 15 stained glass windows, each 15 metres (~50 feet) high, depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Most of the stained glass on the windows dates back to the 13th century. A seven-year restoration of the chapel, timed to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the birth of King Louis IX, was completed last year.
Experiencing the glory of Sainte-Chapelle is like being inside a kaleidoscope.
I stayed as long as I could, until the chapel’s mid-day closing. I wish I could have stayed longer.
I hope that my next visit will take place during the long daylight hours of summer. There are concerts here in the early evening, and I’ve heard that watching the effects of the setting sun on the windows, to the accompaniment of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, is one of those peak, unforgettable experiences.
In a city rich with churches—Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur—the spectacular Sainte-Chapelle is the stunner.
360 Degrees of Sainte-Chapelle
PhotoJPL has posted a brilliant 360 Degree View of the chapel. Watch it in full screen, and let it take you on an automated tour of one of the Wonders of the Medieval World.