Sainte Chapelle History

Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic chapel located in the heart of Paris, France. 

It was built by King Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis, to house his collection of religious relics, including the Crown of Thorns.

He believed it to be the exact crown Jesus wore during his Crucifixion.

With this acquisition of the relics, the Sainte Chapelle became one of the most important shrines of the Christian world.

This article will give you a little glimpse of Sainte Chapelle history.

Construction history of the Sainte Chapelle

Construction of Sainte Chapelle began sometime after 1238 and was completed in just seven years, making it one of the fastest-built structures of its time. 

The chapel, designed in the Rayonnant style, is characterized by its use of stained glass windows and pointed arches. 

It features two levels, the lower level serving as the chapel for the royal family and the upper level serving as the chapel for the clergy.

Sainte Chapelle history is known for its beautiful stained glass windows covering about eighty percent of the wall surface. 

The windows depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments, among the finest examples of 13th-century stained glass worldwide.

Over the centuries, La Sainte Chapelle has undergone some renovations and restorations. 

It was severely damaged during the French Revolution and later restored in the 19th century. 

Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It has 15 windows, each 15 meters high, with stunning stained glass panes depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments until the arrival of relics.

Book your Sainte Chapelle ticket online to enjoy skip-the-line access and walk through the Sainte Chapelle history. 


Curious to know about Sainte Chapelle history? Below are the answers to all your questions.

Who built Sainte Chapelle?

Sainte Louis IX, previously King Louis, built Sainte Chapelle.

He built the chapel right in the heart of Paris Île de la Cité, in his royal residence, Palais de la Cité.

He built this exclusively to store the sacred relics important for Western Christianity, such as the Crown of Thorns.

Why was the Sainte Chapelle built?

The Sainte Chapelle was designed to house priceless Christian artifacts, such as Christ’s crown of thorns. 

Its construction took seven years, which is a remarkable achievement. Influence from both religion and politics. 

The powerful monarch became the head of Western Christianity when he acquired these holy artifacts.

How old is Sainte Chapelle?

Built in 1248 and commissioned by Sainte Louis IX, Sainte Chapelle was built as a part of Palis de la Cite.

It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Paris, located in the city’s heart.

The primary use of Sainte Chapelle was to store sacred relics belonging to Western Christianity.

What does the stained glass window depict?

The Stained Glasses of Sainte Chapelle depict the narratives from the bible, history and literature.

Sainte Chapelle’s glasses have a way of telling stories through vibrant bright colors and beautifully painted pictures. 

Each window is unique and artistically represents a different story from the Old and new testaments of the Bible.

What does the Rose Window Symbolize?

The symbolization of the Rose window differs for modern Catholics and the transept ends.

In transept ends, the rose windows are repeatedly dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

While in Modern Christianity is often connected to the Virgin Mary because of one of the titles Sainte Bernard of Clairvaux referred to as the Mystical Rose.

Why was the chapel divided into two parts?

The Sainte Chapelle is divided into the Upper Chapel and Lower Chapel.

This was done as the Upper Chapel was made for Kings’ close friends and family and could only be accessed by them through an outdoor terrace.

While the Lower Chapel was made for the Palace’s staff and workers.

What is the significance of the relics in Sainte Chapelle?

The relics of Sainte Chapelle are the sacred relics that belonged to Jesus Christ, which the French Monarchy later acquired.

Sainte Chapelle in Paris was initially built to house these relics to increase the power of Sainte Louis in Western Christianity.

However, the relics are now stored in the cathedral treasury in Notre Dame Cathedral.

When was the monument damaged?

Fire has destroyed Sainte Chapelle twice; the first was in 1630, and the second was in 1776.

The Chapelle was destroyed during the Revolution because it was well known for housing significant Religious artifacts and serving as the Palais de Justice’s archives.

One of the earliest still-standing structures in Paris, Sainte Chapelle has a unique past.

Featured Image: Wikipedia.org

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