You know my passion for churches and my words seem appropriate on this Easter weekend!
If you’ve visited Paris, it’s unlikely that you missed this emblematic and absolutely incredible monument, but if you don’t know it, then follow me, you won’t be disappointed…
Located on the Ile de la Cité in Paris, next to the Conciergerie, where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned, the Sainte-Chapelle or Sainte-Chapelle du Palais, as it was originally part of a palace, was built between 1241 and 1248 at the request of Saint Louis.
Abandoning the Romanesque bell tower for a remarkable Gothic spire with an openwork structure covered in lead, this chapel has fascinated since the Middle Ages, however it has had to be renovated several times over time.
Moreover, destroyed at the time of the Revolution (1793), it was rebuilt in 1856 under Louis-Philippe, this is this version that we still admire today.
At a height of 75m (246ft) from the ground, the spire weighs 232 tons (including 64 tons of lead).
Today, this is the only surviving medieval spire along with that of Amiens Cathedral.
But if I chose this monument this week, it’s for a very particular reason.
Until the Revolution, the Sainte-Chapelle housed several Passion relics, including the Holy Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross.
Hence a flamboyant richness in its decoration, with great reinforcements of colours, gilding, and the use of all arts and crafts.
With a height of twice its width (20.5m high, 10.7m wide, 33m long), one is immediately dazzled by its elegance and grandeur.
The absence of walls voluntarily chosen by the architect, allows the 15 glass walls of 15m height (49ft) to run the show.
With 615m2 of windows, 1113 small scenes tell the Old and the New Testament, from Creation to the Apocalypse which is represented on the incredible rose window, but also the history of the world until the arrival of the relics in Paris.
Largely dominated by red and blue, these stained glass windows help to make this chapel very harmonious.
Everything is admirable in these decors, I could spend hours admiring the smallest details of this chapel.
This is what attracts visitors so much, even though the relics are no longer there, this monument is one of the most visited in France.
But that's not all, because there’s a second chapel just below.
Called the Lower Chapel, it’s the same size but with a 6m (19ft) ceiling, and it’s nonetheless sumptuous.
Moreover, without the daylight entering, I find the place even more mystical.