A true gem of Gothic style: Sainte Chapelle Architecture

Sainte Chapelle architecture has always been famous, as its unique stained glass makes it one of the greatest sites of French Gothic art.

Sainte Chapelle has undergone various changes and renovations to maintain its structure and beauty.

The glass windows were filthy, and the motifs ruined the designs’ essence. 

Moreover, the grisaille, the drawing carved inside the glass, was somehow lost after the fires.

Several windows deteriorated due to condensation, while a varnish applied to the windows had blackened over the years.

The front sides of the chapel also turned dirty due to pollution.

Some sculptures were missing, and some had decayed.

Hence, the renovation of the bays began in 2008 and 2014 under chief architects Alain Charles Perrott and Christophe Bottineau.

These changes also included reconstructing the western rose window and cleaning and strengthening the metal structures.

Note: If you are curious about the history of this beautiful chapel, then read our article covering all the minor details.

Challenges during Restoration

Restoration is necessary for preserving and presenting historical monuments but can be a big hurdle if a slight mistake occurs.

Removing, cleaning, touching, detailing and disassembling glasses and ancient sculptures can be a big task even for master architects.

The extraordinary qualities of Sainte Chapelle architecture, stained glass windows and their size make it one of the world-famous masterpieces.

Therefore, restoring such intricate and fragile work is a delicate operation and a heavy responsibility on the people doing the job.

Old pieces, even broken or colorless, shouldn’t be thrown away; instead, they should be pieced together and displayed in their original spot.

No grisaille drawing can disappear, as any work done during the medieval ages is irreversible.

The main objective of the renovation was to restore the chapel’s beauty and continue the magical synchronization of the artists behind this monument.

The architecture of Sainte Chapelle

The architecture of Sainte Chapelle
Image: Ucla.edu

The master glassmakers, during restoration, worked with infrared lighting to read through the dirty glass and remove the varnish without altering any designs.

When it comes to vanished structures, they restore them on double-glazing glass and re-apply them to the old glass.

The architects followed the same experimental procedure for applying other windows to the apse window.

It tells visitors from the outside that the glass is still the original Sainte Chapelle stained glass.

Sculptures were also removed, taken for restoration, and returned to the chapel.

They used micro sandblasting technology to clean the facades and the front edge of Sainte-Chapelle architecture.

In conclusion, Sainte Chapelle is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. 

Its use of light and decoration makes it unique and breathtaking.

Buy your tickets to Sainte Chapelle and admire the beautiful architecture up close. 


For what purpose was the Sainte Chapelle constructed initially?

Sainte Chapelle in Paris was constructed initially to house Christan Artifacts like Christ’s Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross.

Along with this, it was the home for various relics related to Christ’s crucifixion.

The possession of these sacred relics helped Saint Louis become the head of Western Christianity.

What is the colorful feature inside the Sainte Chapelle?

The column in the lower chapel has alternating floral designs along with the castle emblem of Castile.

The red, blue, and gold paintings date back to the 19th-century reconstruction.

The architects also replaced the original stained glass from the lower chapel with colorless glass.

What are the elements of Sainte Chapelle architecture?

Sainte Chapelle is a classic example of Renaissance Gothic-style architecture.

One can recognize Sainte Chapelle’s Architecture by extreme degrees of illumination and the visualization of structural lightness.

Another thing that makes Sainte Chapelle unique is that in Rayonnant’s style, decorative elements are more critical than other architectural styles.

Why was Sainte Chapelle restored?

Sainte Chapelle had to go through restoration to preserve the 13th-century structural designs it is famous for.

The glass windows had turned filthy, and the motifs were more challenging to understand, ruining the designs’ essence.

Restoration allowed some designs to return to their original form, while others underwent a process to maintain the historical monument.

Who was behind the restoration work of Sainte Chapelle?

The decorations in Sainte Chapelle date back to the 15th century and went through restoration by Chief Architect Alain Charles Perrott and Christophe Bottineau.

This renovation’s main objective was to piece together whatever was burned and restore it as best as possible.

Also, master glassmakers played an essential role by removing the varnish from the polluted glasses.

What is the architectural feature of Sainte Chapelle?

One of the best architectural features of Sainte Chapelle is the 600 square meters of glass windows in its upper chapel.

Also, the 15 stained windows from the 13th century are part of the world’s extensive collection of stained glasses.

Sainte Chapelle’s architecture has a Renaissance Gothic style, another essential medieval structure you find nowadays.

Is Sainte-Chapelle High Gothic?

Sainte Chapelle, the oldest remnant of the medieval period, is an excellent example of Gothic architecture.

One cannot miss several landmarks, decorations, and designs that one cannot miss while visiting the capital, Paris.

Sainte Chapelle is undoubtedly an architectural masterpiece, home to the famous stained glass windows that portray several stories.

Featured Image: Macrobir / Getty Images

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