Sainte-Chapelle is just outside the Notre Dame, but for some reason we’ve never seen it before after two other visits to Paris. Chris and I decided it may be that you are always so tired after visiting the Notre Dame and standing in the long line, you decide to skip it rather than wait in another. It is not impressive from the outside, but the insides are awesome, really.
The royal chapel is Gothic style, which we are learning more about the different architecture and will hopefully explain all that later. Constructions began in 1238 and finished in 1248, and it was commissioned by Louis IX.
He had purchased Christ’s Crown of Thorns supposedly, as well as several other relics, and wanted an appropriate place to house them. According to wikipedia, “Upon arrival, King Louis hosted a week-long celebratory reception for the relics. For the final stage of their journey they were carried by the King himself, barefoot and dressed as a penitent, a scene depicted in the Relics of the Passion window on the south side of the chapel.” Perhaps the chapel’s construction is what helped Louis achieve the title of Saint later in his life.
The chapel’s stained glass is mind-boggling and 12 stone Apostles are present. The stained glass illustrations begin with Genesis and then on to Exodus, Joseph, Numbers/Leviticus,
Joshus/Deuteronomy, Judges, Jeremiah/Tobias, Judith/Job, Esther, David and the Book of Kings. Another section shows Christ’s Passion, His infancy, the life of John the Evangelist. Another section is dedicated to the activity with the relics.
Walden and I noted though, you would do well to bring binoculars to learn about the Bible from the windows, since the enormity of the place is overwhelming and makes it difficult to see detail.
Sainte-Chapelle has been highly restored since the French Revolution when the relics were removed (the crown of thorns is now in the Notre Dame Treasury), much was melted down, and the steeple and baldachin removed.
Not a blessing to the place, but Adolf Hitler visited the chapel on his only visit to Paris in 1940.
We were really glad we took the time to go this visit, it was well worth it. The line was nonexistent late in the afternoon this time of year on a Sunday and we were able to just enjoy.