• Patricia Dyer

Sainte-Chapelle

Updated: Jul 11




Paris


Unfortunately the interior of Notre Dame will be off-limits to visitors for quite sometime while architects and craftsmen take on the daunting task of repairing damages caused by the 2019 fire. However, just down the street is a church that in my opinion, tops Notre Dame in the category of interior beautiful - it’s named Sainte Chapelle.

Built in the 13 century by King Louis lX who would later be granted saint hood (Saint Louis), Sainte Chapelle isn’t much to look at from the outside, but it’s definitely a jaw dropper on the inside.

Narrow spiral stairs take you from a relatively austere first floor (where the lower classes prayed) to a magnificent, almost heavenly-like room of stain glass windows and walls.

The true purpose of this beautiful royal chapel was to safely house some of the most important relics to the Christian Faith, including Jesus Christ’s actual Crown of Thorns - yes, 700 years ago it was for sale! Also included were portions of the Holy Cross.

Personally, I would love to know how all of this was authenticated. Especially since we’re talking about the year 1238, not even 1938. But I digress.

The possession of such important Christian relics, immediately raised the profile of King Louis among the papacy, aristocracy and the general public. The action of amassing such an impressive religious collection was as much a play for power as it was a show of faith.

Sainte-Chapelle’s royal chapel consists of 15 beautiful (mostly original) stained glass windows depicting over 1000 scenes from the Bible. Facing these panels of such spectacular color and light is a very large rose window.

Below is the first level where those of low social ranking worshiped. Although much more solemn and austere, I still think it’s quite beautiful.

So if you’re lucky enough to travel to Paris, definitely plan to visit Sainte Chapelle - Notre Dame’s less famous but more beautiful neighbor. Believe me, you will not be disappointed. 🌸

Sainte-Chapelle

10 Boulevard du Palais

Paris, France

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