Housed in the Palais de la Cité, the seat of royalty from the 10th to the 14th centuries, the Sainte-Chapelle is one of Europe's finest examples of high gothic architecture, offering a luminous, ethereal beauty that many visitors to Paris unfortunately never experience.
Built between 1242 and 1248 under order of King Louis IX, the Sainte-Chapelle was constructed as a royal chapel to house the Holy Relics of the Passion of the Christ.
These include the Crown of Thorns and fragment of the Holy Cross, which had previously belonged to the rulers of Constantinople when it was the center of Christian power. In purchasing the relics, which far oustripped the overall cost of building the lavish chapel itself, Louis IX's ambition was to make Paris a "new Jerusalem".
Situated on the Ile de la Cité, the central strip of land between two banks of the Seine which defined the borders of early medieval Paris, the Palais de la Cité and the Sainte-Chapelle were badly damaged during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Much of the Sainte-Chapelle was reconstructed, but a majority of the delicate stained glass is original. The sumptuous upper chapel counts a head-spinning 1,113 biblical scenes carefully etched into 15 stained glass windows.
Location and Contact Information:
Sights and Attractions Nearby:
- La Conciergerie (remnants of Paris' first royal Palace, more recently used as a prison during the Revolutionary Reign of Terror)
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Latin Quarter
- Boat Tours of the Seine River
Chapel Opening Hours:
The Sainte Chapelle is open every day and operates on different schedules depending on whether you're visiting in high season or low:
- From March 1st to October 31st: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
- From November 1st to February 28th: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closing Days and Times: The chapel is closed between 1:00 and 2:00 pm during the week, and on January 1st, May 1st and Christmas Day.
All visitors must go through security checks at the Palais de Justice. Make sure not to bring sharp or dangerous objects with you, as these will be confiscated.
Note: Last tickets are sold 30 minutes before the chapel closes.
Adults pay full-price admission to Sainte-Chapelle, while children under 18 enter for free when accompanied by an adult. Disabled visitors and their escorts also enter for free (with a proper identity card). For up-to-date details on admission fees, consult this page at the official website.
The Paris Museum Pass includes admission to the Sainte-Chapelle. (Buy Direct at Rail Europe)
Guided tours of the chapel are available for individuals and groups. Call +33 (0)1 44 54 19 30 to reserve. Special assistance and adapted tours are available for disabled visitors (enquire ahead when reserving a tour) Joint tours of the Sainte-Chapelle and the adjacent Conciergerie are also possible..
The Sainte-Chapelle is fully accessible to disabled visitors, but some may need special assistance.
Call +33 (0)1 53 73 78 65 / +33 (0)1 53 73 78 66 to ask about special tours and accompaniment.
Pictures: Soak In Some Visual Inspiration Before Your Trip
Get a sense of the intricate details and stunning stained glass awaiting you at the 12th-century chapel by browsing through our Sainte-Chapelle in Pictures Gallery.
To learn more about the history and visual highlights of this important example of high gothic architecture, visit this page.