Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
Sainte-Chapelle. (Photo by Jean-Christophe Benoist)

The stained glass wonderlands of Sainte Chapelle create architectures of light on the Île de la Cité

The interior of this tiny Gothic chapel near Notre Dame—built in 1246 to house the Crown of Thorns and almost entirely hidden by the bulk of the Palace of Justice surrounding it—is a sculpture of light and color.

The thin bits of stone that hold the tall stained-glass windows and brace the roof seem to dissolve in the diffuse and dappled brightness glowing through the 13th-century windows.

The effect on a sunny day is, well, almost religious.

Sainte-Chapelle tips

Planning your time

Though spectacular, Sainte Chapelle is pretty small, so it only takes about 15 minutes to see it—plus at least another 15 minutes to get through the slow line (they have an airport-style secutiry system; bring photo ID).

I'd say to be safe budget at least 45 to an hour total.

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Do not bring knives or scissors

You have to go through a metal detector and bag search to get into the chapel, and are not allowed to have any sharp or pointed metal objects.

This includes pocket knives and small scissors.

They will not let you in. I am not kidding.

Free admission with a sightseeing card

Get into Sainte-Chapelle for free (and skip the line at the ticket booth) with either the Paris Museum Pass (sights) or the Paris PassParis Pass (sights + transport + attractions).

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Take a tour of Sainte-Chapelle
Combined admission

Get a combined tisket to Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie for €12.50 (or get into both with one of the passes, above)

Dress for church

As with most major churches in Europe, visitors are asked to dress appropriately for, well, for a church:

  • No short-shorts
  • No tank tops
  • Make sure you cover your shoulders and have shorts or a skirt that go down at least to the knee (preferably longer).
  • Popular solution: carry a light shawl or broad pashmina to wrap around bare shoudlers or serve as a makeshift skirt for going into chuches.

 

 

 



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The apse of Sainte-Chapelle
The apse of Sainte-Chapelle. (Photo by gnose)

 

 

A detail of one of the stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
A detail of one of the stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle. (Photo by Luiza Fediuc)