Paris: Don’t Skip Sainte Chapelle

During this season of renewal, my mind floats to my favorite churches in Paris. I can’t help but marvel at Sainte Chapelle, stuck next to a courthouse, the little sibling of its competitor, the grand Notre Dame Cathedral. With each located on the Ile de la Cité, and with time in the capital limited, the more humble Sainte Chapelle is easy to skip. Go anyway.

The lower chapel in Sainte Chapelle yields a surprise upstairs.  Photo credit: V. Laino

The lower chapel in Sainte Chapelle yields a surprise upstairs.
Photo credit: V. Laino

Built around 1240 by Louis IX, who managed to become Saint Louis, it once housed Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns until that relic was put into storage over at Notre Dame. The magnificent stained glass remains. What I like about it: the low ceilings of the lower chapel and gift shop downstairs lead to a magnificent surprise for visitors to the soaring windows of the upper chapel, which has a relatively small floorplan. Even doubters will be compelled to look up.

Sainte Chapelle once housed Jesus Christ's crown of thorns. Photo credit: V. Laino

Sainte Chapelle once housed Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns.
Photo credit: V. Laino

This is not the grand, sweeping Notre Dame; nevertheless, prepare to be awed. As you leave, ponder the separation of church and state as you exit through the Palais de Justice.

—Lori Tripoli

Exit Sainte Chapelle and behold the Palais de Justice, which promises liberty, equality, fraternity. Photo credit: V. Laino

Exit Sainte Chapelle and behold the Palais de Justice, which promises liberty, equality, fraternity.
Photo credit: V. Laino

 

2 comments for “Paris: Don’t Skip Sainte Chapelle

  1. Mela
    July 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    No way. It is a nice 15 min. look at some concentrated windows, but they are undergoing renovations, so only 1/2 of the windows are visible (3/15 panels and the rose window are blocked). If you have the museum pass you can walk right in (after standing on line for the security check), but we waited for an hour to get tickets. They had one clerk working instead of 2 and the staff were moving very slowly.

    • BashfulAdventurer
      July 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Thank you for sharing your view. Sites don’t resonate with everyone! It will be interesting to learn if you visit Sainte Chappelle at some point in the future and have a different opinion. The Museum Pass is definitely a life saver–I wish it were everywhere!

      -Lori Tripoli

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