Everyone knows about Paris’ greatest hits: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe. But when planning my first ever visit, I came across one site that I’d never heard of: Sainte Chappelle. This hidden gem should be on any Paris Itinerary. Though it’s certainly less well-known than nearby Notre Dame, the inside of Sainte Chappelle is even more beautiful. Famous for its incredible stained glass, visitors are left in awe of this incredible royal chapel dating back to the 1200s.
The chapel, originally founded by Saint Louis (not the city) to house a collection of Catholic relics has survived a lot in its history. It was vandalized during the French Revolution, used for storage, and oiled up to protect it from WWII bombing. After lots of renovations, it’s now open to the public and should not be missed on your visit to Paris.
Sainte Chappelle’s lower level
Visitors enter on the lower level of the chapel, and while it’s not the main attraction, it’s still beautiful. Much of the décor has been recreated after being destroyed over the years, but the rich gold paint is eye catching.
The high, arching eaves complement some smaller stained glass windows, and there are spots where gems are embedded in the walls. We actually thought that this was the only part of the church and almost left without seeing the main attraction. Fortunately, as we prepared to leave, we spotted the very narrow winding staircase that took us up to the second floor.
The Haute Chappelle
This is the part you see pictures of. You’re almost completely surrounded by gorgeous blue stained glass that reaches all the way up to the ceiling. Though some of it has been recreated due to damage over the years, quite a bit of it is original. The craftsmanship that went into it is stunning.
The haute chappelle is the kind of place you can just wander and lose yourself in. Make sure you check out the detail in the glass. Like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle also features a rose window. I’ve visited a lot of stunning churches in Europe over the last few years, but the stained glass in Sainte Chappelle is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Photos just can’t do it justice.
Sainte Chappelle is located on Ile de la Cite, only a couple of blocks from Notre Dame. You can easily combine the two into a morning or afternoon. Admission for adults is 10 euros at the time of this writing. The Paris City Pass (which I highly recommend) includes a visit. Check out the official site for more information. If you’re looking for the relics that were once housed here, some of them can be found in the Notre Dame cathedral.
Read more about Paris here:
- Should You Buy A Paris Museum Pass?
- 3-Day Paris Power Itinerary
- Notre Dame: Birds, Gargoyles, and an Incredible View
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