Paris: Sainte-Chapelle (France)


8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

Pierre de Montreuil, Possible Architect (c.1239-1248)

Sainte-Chapelle is a mediaeval royal Gothic chapel located within the Palais de la Cite in Paris, commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house relics bought from Venetian merchants during the first crusade. Those relics supposedly included Christ’s Crown of Thorns and pieces of, and a nail from, the True Cross.

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris 01_Stephen Varady photo ©

This is a most wonderful piece of architecture. Externally the gothic buttressing aids in supporting the incredibly tall slender windows of the upper chapel. An array of gargoyles as rainwater spouts jut out across the entire building – simultaneously grotesque and humorous, they guard the exterior without revealing the richness of the interior.

The structure throughout seems too slender and refined and one marvels at the ingenuity to construct the 15m high stained glass windows. The colour of the windows is matched by the richly painted interior walls and ceilings with all manner of decoration and trompe l’oeil employed to exceptional effect.

These photos were taken in 1990 but the building has undergone a complete restoration since that time surely heightening the experience of the entire building.


Further Information:

Place: Sainte-Chapelle

Possible Architect: Pierre de Montreuil (disputed) and Saint-Chapelle Wikipedia

Photographer: Stephen Varady (scans from slides)

Map: Sainte-Chapelle Map








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