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06 February 2011

La Sainte Chapelle – the Holy Chapel – a crowning jewel on Île de la Cité in Paris, France


Perhaps one of the most beautiful and striking chapels in all of Paris, La Sainte Chapelle, located on Île de la Cité near Notre Dame, surrounds you with its radiant stained glass windows full of a most heavenly light! Until you see it in person, you cannot appreciate the translucent majesty that awaits all who venture inside! Literally breathless after ascending the tiny staircase from the lower level, I emerged into the chapel full of streaming sunlight illuminating the details of these magnificent windows. See for yourself!

Completed and consecrated in 1248, the chapel was sponsored by King Louis IX, the future Saint Louis, and construction started circa 1240 in his palais de la Cité. Eventually, Sainte Chapelle was to house the holy relics of the passion of which none remains in this location today, and it served as a model for all future chapels built by St. Louis and his descendants! After the Revolution wreaked havoc on the chapel, restoration was underway from 1840 – 1868 and eventually, the chapel was restored to its former 13th-century glory. Today, Sainte Chapel and the Tour Bonbec nearby, are all that remains of the royal palace.

With expectations running high, we entered the chapel on the lower level – a very underwhelming experience – which served as the parish church for the locals living around the King's palace. See photo directly below.

However, once you ascend the stairway just to the right of the entrance , you are on your way. I will let the images below speak for themselves. Behold, the glorious La Sainte Chapelle!



If you're planning to visit Paris and Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle is close by and should not be overlooked on any itinerary!

35 comments:

  1. Nice photos Jeff. The only Notro Dame area I ever went is in Montreal. I wish I have a chance to visit PARIS in the future. I love how the light bounce off the gold color inside.

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  2. Hi Sarah, Thank you once again for sharing your experience albeit in Montreal...still must have been quite spectacular!

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  3. lovely place.. just saw it from outside :)

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  4. Thanks Ken for your comment! The next time you visit Paris, venture inside and to see the real glory of this magnificent chapel. For now, hope my pictures communicate its majesty!

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  5. Ken, Saint Chapelle is truly magnificent and should be on everyone's must see list for Paris. Your pictures are amazing.

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  6. Beautiful, so full of colours.. never had a chance to visit any country outside India but these pics make me want to some day soon! Thanks for these fascinating pics and description :)

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  7. Hi Arti,
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! If you ever plan a visit to Paris, please let me know. I would love to point out some "Must-See" places to visit.
    Have a great day!

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  8. Hi Debbie and thanks for your kind words. Sainte Chapelle took my breath away when I emerged into a most heavenly light!! It was amazing. Thx for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts!

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  9. I loved St Chappelle--do I remember it right that its stained glass is the oldest in Paris?

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  10. Gorgeous photos and superb writing. I love the line "translucent majesty." Anyone who reads this is going to make this church a must stop thanks to your writing.

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  11. Hi Ted,
    Thanks so much for all of your compliments and kind words...they go a long way with me. The place truly was a spectacle to behold. I've never seen anything like it. thx again.

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  12. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your memories with everyone who visits my blog. Indeed you are right in that this chapel glistens with the oldest stained glass windows in Paris. I must say you're well traveled my friend and know your stained glass windows! Thank you again! Check out Fodor's for more information. http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/france/paris/review-97468.html

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  13. What a sight! Beautiful photos. I'd love to visit La Sainte Chapelle one day :)

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  14. I love St Chappelle. Saw it when I was in Paris a few years ago. Just me - alone. What a gift to be able to have that opportunity.

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  15. Hi Mindie,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and following my blog too! I really appreciate your comments and glad you enjoyed the post. I too, love Sainte Chapelle - it literally took my breath away.

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  16. Hi Jeff: Just a note to say that these windows are spectacular. I have seen them.
    I am reading a novel, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, and am learning to really appreciate just what goes into making stained glass.

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  17. These photos are wonderful. I was in Paris 22 years ago (yes, it was when I was a teenager), and I don't think we visited this amazing cathedral. Next time!

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  18. Hi Terry Ann,

    Thanks so much for stopping by to share your thoughts about this spectacular cathedral. I will have to look into Clara and Mr. Tiffany!!

    Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  19. Hi Jenna,

    Thank you so much for sharing your comments. I was blown away by this place when we emerged upstairs from the entrance. It truly is magnificent. Next time you go, just know it's right around the corner from Notre Dame. Thanks again!

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  20. Beautiful Jeff! Can't believe what great photos you have of Saint Chapelle! It's been a few years since I have been there and would love to go back.

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  21. Hi Jeremy...

    Thank you for your kind words...but my pics really don't convey the utter magnificence of this place when you first enter the chapel and a most glorious light surrounds you and envelopes you. It's magical!!! You must visit when you go back. Thanks for sharing your thoughts my friend.

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  22. When I entered the Sainte Chapelle couldn't think of anything different than the Sistine Chapel. Besides the physical similarity, there´s a shared feeling between both. Or maybe it's because of the way you enter, getting all their greatness of a sudden... in any case, an unforgettable experience.

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  23. Hi Oscar,
    Thanks for sharing your comments. Totally agree that when you enter both chapels, a great sense of awe overcomes you at the moment you look up and all around to take in your surroundings. Not so sure about them being similar in appearance though...very different chapels. What did you mean? Thanks again.

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  24. I felt the same in both cases: they are both surprisingly narrow. Maybe because you are used to associate huge sizes to these wonderful places, both these chapels appear smaller than the previous idea I had. May I say, it´s like when you see the Mona Lisa for the first time: wow... is this all?? And then you realize size doesn´t matter...
    And the other similarity I found was the feeling of been absolutely surrounded by things to see and admire, in a 360° angle. Walls, floor, ceiling... everywhere you look your eyes open wide. In one case it´s for the paintings, in the other the magnificence of the vitraux, but I felt the same...

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  25. Oscar, what an eloquent way to articulate your experiences in both of these places. I too was overwhelmed with the paintings and the vitraux, as you put it. Nice word to describe the windows my friend. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

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  26. Absolutely wonderful to see these memories again. I was amazed when I was fortunate enough to see it in real life. I believe it's one of the places in the world that on can appreciate beauty and it's very tangible. It's something that is bigger than yourself and a must see!

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  27. Hi Christina,
    I couldn't agree with you more! This chapel is glorious to behold in person and should be on everyone's itinerary when visiting Paris! Thank you for stopping by to share your thoughts!!

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  28. Lovely photos, Jeff! I love stained glass.

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  29. Hi Charu,
    If you loved stained glass, you absolutely must visit Sainte Chapelle. It's nothing short of magnificent!!!

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  30. Beautiful, so full of colours.. never had a chance to visit any country outside India but these pics make me want to some day soon! Thanks for these fascinating pics and description :)

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  31. Welcome back Marble Top and thank you for your kind words. Sainte Chapelle is indeed a very special place and I only wish my photos really captured the experience of this heavenly light streaming in through these magnificent windows.

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  32. Replies
    1. Hi there SJ!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I couldn't agree with you more, the cathedral is indeed heavenly!

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    1. Hi there Charu!! I couldn't agree with you more my friend!! I was awe struck when I ascended to the 2nd level to see this glorious chapel!! Thank you for stopping by to share your thoughts!!

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!