PARIS HOTEL

Sainte-Chapelle (French for The Holy Chapel) Paris, France

SIGHTS SAINT CHAPELLE PARIS
The Holy Chapel (Sainte-Chapelle), located on the Ile de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France, is considered by many to be the crown jewel of High Gothic architecture. Constructed in six years, the Holy Chapel was finished in 1248.

Sainte-Chapelle was built by Louis IX, who later was to become Saint Louis. Louis IX undertook the project in order to put his relics from the Passion of Christ in a safe place. Saint Louis had acquired the Crown of Thorns and the Image of Edessa along with other relics, and required a reliquary chapel that would be worthy of these holy objects. Originally the Chapel was adjacent to the-then royal palace; which for the most part, no longer exists. The Crown of Thorns, one of the instruments of the Passion, was the woven chaplet of thorn branches worn by Jesus before his crucifixion.

Louis bought his relics of the Passion from the Latin emperor at Constantinople, Baldwin II, for the exorbitant sum of 135,000 livres, which was paid to the Venetians, to whom the relics had been pawned. The entire chapel, by contrast, cost only 40,000 livres to build. In 1241 a piece of the True Cross was also added, along with other relics.

The building is a Palatine chapel, the upper part of which was reserved for the sovereign (a gallery linked the chapel to the royal suite at the King's Palace) and in the lower part of which was used by the staff of the Palace. The lower chapel served as a base to the monument, whereas the upper one was designed as a monumental shrine, finely painted and worked, where the relics were carefully kept. The exceptional stained-glass windows, two-thirds of which are original, represent the most complete collection of the art of stained-glass window making in the 13th century. Another beautiful aspect of the chapel, are the rose windows added to the upper chapel in the 15th century.

During the French Revolution, the chapel was converted to an administrative office, and the windows were obscured by enormous filing cabinets. Their all-but-forgotten beauty was thereby inadvertently protected from the vandalism in which the choir stalls and the rood screen were destroyed, the spire pulled down and the relics dispersed. In the 19th century Viollet-le-Duc restored the Sainte Chapelle: the current spire is his sensitive design. The Sainte Chapelle has been a national historic monument since 1862. A replica of the Sainte Chapelle can be found in Chicago, Illinois

Practical information
CENTRE DES MONUMENTS NATIONAUX -
SAINTE CHAPELLE
4, boulevard du Palais 75001 PARIS

Going there
Metro : Cité
RER :Saint Michel - Notre Dame
Bus :21, 27, 38, 85, 96 et Balabus

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04 Paris: Old Marais district - Modern Art museum - City Hall - Ile de La Cite; - La place des Vosges - L'Hotel de Ville - Notre Dame de Paris - La Conciergerie - La crypte archeologique - La Maison de Victor Hugo - La Sainte Chapelle - Pont de Sully

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