By | September 8, 2022
sainte chapelle history

If you’re a fan of history and architecture, then you’ll definitely want to check out Sainte Chapelle in Paris. This stunning medieval chapel is home to some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world. But before you visit, make sure you know these top facts about Sainte Chapelle!

The Sainte-Chapelle was built under King Louis IX’s orders:

Louis IX of France, the monarch at the time, gave the order to construct the Sainte-Chapelle in 1242. It was finished rapidly, and by 1248, it was in service. The building is a chapel, not a cathedral or even a church in the traditional sense. In actuality, Sainte-Chapelle translates to Holy Chapel in English. For himself and the rest of the aristocracy to pray in, King Louis IX desired a separate royal chapel.

Twenty-two religious artifacts were once housed in the Sainte-Chapelle:

King Louis IX had a strong interest in collecting artifacts. For a staggering 135,000 livres in 1239, he acquired the Crown of Thorns and the Image of Edessa from the emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, along with other items (the currency at the time).

King Louis IX later became known as Saint Louis:

When Louis IX was only 12 years old in 1226, he was crowned in Reims, France. Although he was moderately religious for the majority of his life, overcoming a serious illness as a young man solidified his conviction in Christianity.

He participated in the Seventh and Eighth Crusades, and being a rigorous monarch; he harshly punished anybody who engaged in blasphemy, prostitution, or gambling. He was declared a saint after his death and amassed a sizable collection of relics, as you already know!

Sainte-Chapelle consists of two chapels:

Actually, the chapel consists of two chapels. The monarch, the royal family, and the artifacts were to be kept in the upper room. The bottom level was intended for common workers at the royal palace.

As you might expect, given that it was constructed for royalty and artifacts, the upper chapel is incredibly spectacular. It is incredibly beautiful and was created in the Gothic style (more on that later). Sometimes due to less frequency of tourists, travel companies offer great discounts on combo attractions tickets. Best option is to take the Sainte chapelle along with the  palace of versailles ticket and explore the 2 best attractions at almost half price.

There is stained glass everywhere (more on that later, too!) and 12 statues that represent the 12 Apostles. The ceilings are painted blue with golden fleur de Lys.

The Virgin Mary is honored in the lower chapel, which is undoubtedly a little more subdued than the upper chapel. That doesn’t make it any less lovely, though. Because of the spotlights shining directly on it, the statue of the Virgin Mary in the center of the chapel serves as the room’s centerpiece.

More than 1,000 biblical characters are depicted in the top chapel’s stained glass:

chapelle stained glass

The Sainte-stained Chapelle’s glass windows depict biblical scenes from both the Old and New Testaments. This covers, The Passion, Christ’s Childhood, and John the Evangelist’s Life.

Additionally, there are scenes from the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Judges, David, and other biblical books. Windows show the finding of Christ’s relics and the wonders the finders were able to work with them. And, of course, there is the window showing King Louis IX transporting the artifacts to Paris.

Who created the Sainte-Chapelle is unknown:

Numerous hypotheses exist on who is to blame, but none have ever been proven. The first, and most well-known, attribute is to Pierre de Montreuil. He was a renowned mason known for his work on the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis and Notre-Dame.

The stained glass windows are the Sainte-standout Chapelle’s feature:

More than 600 m2 of glass are featured in the upper chapel specifically. There are a total of 15 windows, all of which are from the thirteenth century. In actuality, the Sainte-Chapelle houses one of the largest collections of stained glass from the 13th century anywhere in the world. When you have little time, it’s an excellent compromise to have a good overview that allows you to identify this place by booking your sainte chapelle tickets prior to your visit. When you are inside the Sainte-Chapelle, it nearly seems like you are inside a kaleidoscope.

There are 82 petals in the rose-stained glass window:

The Sainte-Chapelle was not constructed in the 13th century when the rose stained glass window was installed. It was installed in the 15th century and had 82 “petals.” Although the rose window in the Sainte-Chapelle is likewise really beautiful, I know that the one in Notre Dame is far more well known.

An excellent example of Gothic architecture is the Sainte-Chapelle:

The Sainte-Chapelle is built in the Gothic style of architecture if you’ve been paying attention up until this point. The Sainte-Chapelle is classified as “Rayonnant” Gothic, one of several various styles of gothic architecture. The French popularized Rayonnant Gothic architecture, which is distinguished by its vertical emphasis.

The stained glass in the top chapel features more than 1,000 biblical figures.

Biblical scenes from both the Old and New Testaments are shown in the stained glass windows of the Sainte-stained Chapelle. This includes John the Evangelist’s Life, Christ’s Childhood, and The Passion. Scenes from the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Judges, David, and other biblical texts are also included. Windows depict the discovery of Christ’s relics and the miracles the discoverers performed using them. There is also, of course, the window depicting King Louis IX bringing the treasures to Paris.

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