La Sainte Chapelle
A French monument
History of La Sainte Chapelle
Exploring La Sainte Chapelle
When touring the church, it can usually take an hour. The church also provides a special tour for disabled visitors.
La Sainte Chapelle is one of King Louis IX's greatest achievements. He was able to collect over thirty relics of Christ back in the early 1200's. The chapel has received its share of damage from all of the wars and revolutions throughout the years. What you will see standing this day will be restoration. Experts have strived to restore it to its original glory. Any person who decides to visit this place will be taken in awe. Every single inch of this chapel is a wonderful sight. About two-thirds of the windows are still authentic while the rest have been recreated.
The Upper Chapel
The Upper Chapel is an incredible example of ecclesiastical Gothic architecture. The part of the building that housed the relics and was reserved for the king, his friends, and his family, the Upper Chapel is an artistic masterpiece. Visitors marvel at the tall stained glass windows and the wonderful statues of the twelve apostles. The stained glass covers a total of 600 square meters in area and two-thirds of them are still thirteenth century originals. The western rose window, however, was crafted in the fifteenth century. The windows were removed briefly during the early nineteenth century and again during World War II to protect them from harm. They were painstakingly reinstalled after the war.
The Lower Chapel
The Lower Chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was once reserved for the king's staff. Its somewhat more humble design includes a low vaulted ceiling painted to resemble a starry sky and arched columns decorated with medallions that represent the Apostles. The columns are also adorned with French fleur-de-lis. Guests to the Lower Chapel can also visit tombstones representing some of the chapel's former reverends.
Considered a perfect example of the Rayonnant style of Gothic architecture (common in France), Saint-Chapelle measures 36 meters long, 17 meters wide, and 42.5 meters high (118 x 56 x 139 ft). It has a single nave, culminating in a chevet with seven panels. Outside, you'll find heavy buttresses at the base, contrasting with a much lighter feeling throughout the upper parts. The slate roof is topped by a 33-meter-high (108 ft) cedar spire that was crafted in the nineteenth century, but is an exact replica of the fifteenth-century spire that previously sat atop the chapel.