La Sainte Chapelle was built for Louis IX to contain the religious relics that he acquired from Constantinople, including the relic of the crown of thorns and part of the true cross, some of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. This exquisite Gothic Holy Chapel was built around 1238 and consecrated on April 26, 1248. This magnificent chapel, resembles a richly decorated jewelry box.
The chapel is surrounded by the Palais de Justice on the Ile-de-la-Cite near the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Until the second hald of the 14th century, the Palais de Justice was used as the royal palace by the kins of France. As a palace chapel, th emain entrance was on the first floor connected directly to the royal apartments.
The lower chapel’s main features are the slender but short painted columns and ribbed vaulting, giving the impression of a crypt. The epper chapel is a complete contrast in height and amount of light that comes in from the spectacular stained glass windows depicting Old and New Testament scenes. The holy relics were originally displayed here. The ornamental design elements include carved spandrels on the wall arches, carved capitals, wall paintings and decorative metalwork.
Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. Climb the spiral staircase to the upper chapel. On each pillar, there is a 14th century statue of an Apostle. The magnificent 13th century stained glass windows contain 1134 scenes.
Get a combined ticket in advance for the Chapel and the Consiergerie to avoid long lines. The Consiergerie was a gothic Palace of the medieval French Kings.