This gem is often overlooked as people head straight to the other main icons that Paris has to offer.
The Sainte-Chapelle is Gothic style chapel on the Île de la Cité in Paris. Built in 1248, it has one of the most extensive 13th century stained glass collections anywhere in the world. There is around 600 square metres of stained glass.
Entry to the church is through the lower chapel.
There is so much to see here. The blue and gold ceiling decorated with fleur-de-lys is a real standout.
You will also see the statue of King Louis IX who masterminded the construction of St Chapelle.
Zoom in on the colourful artefacts.
Don’t forget that very old floor that you are walking on.
You can also see the Great Shrine which is where the 22 relics of the Passion of Christ were once kept. Love those idols that surround this.
Then climb the narrow stairs to the upper chapel.
Step inside where you will be taken aback by the amount of stained glass. Stop for a moment to take it all in. For me it was an overwhelming sight.
No photograph can really do justice to what you are seeing here. It is difficult to get the “full picture”.
The light is not great for amateur photography. I just wandered around and took photos from different angles. While the definition of the actual biblical scenes depicted in the windows was not so clear in my photos, the darkness and colour of these windows gave it the ambiance I was hoping for.
The main altar is illuminated by a full wall of 15 stained glass windows. Magnificent. Some of the originals of these windows date back to the 13th century.
The Rose Window, featuring 87 petals was installed in the 15th century completes the picture of so many windows.
The upper chapel features sculptures of the twelve apostles. Of these Pillars of the Church, only six are originals.
Take photos of the walls, and anything else that catches your eye. Another beautiful ceiling with its golden stars symbolising the heavens complements the coloured glass.
Not much is said about the exterior of this royal chapel. It is surrounded by buildings such as the Conciergerie and Palais de Justice. For this reason, you cannot really get a full picture of the church.
Take a walk around, see the many windows, look up to the spire and the gargoyles.
A truly unforgettable experience and one I would truly recommend.
OTHER CHURCHES AND CATHEDRALS OF PARIS
Notre Dame is is a medieval Catholic cathedral in the centre of Paris. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Construction began in 1163 and finally opened in 1345. Over the centuries, the church has been added to, almost destroyed during the French Revolution, renovated and most recently significantly damaged by fire in 2019.
Visit in front of the church, walk around it, view from across the Seine, go inside and climb the tower to see the gargoyles – Notre Dame has it all and its free to enter (except for the tower visit).
Sacre Coeur Basilica
Located on top of the hill at Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur was built in 1919 and it is a Romano-Byzantine styled Catholic church. The spacious green area in front of the church is a nice location for picnic and to admire the spectacular city view of Paris.
We did take a look inside the Sacre Coeur but photography was not allowed. The building itself was majestic so took photos from different angles.
Eglise De La Madeleine
Built in Neo-Classical style, it is one of the best-preserved of all Roman temples.
Its fifty-two Corinthian columns, each 20 metres high, are carried around the entire building.
The church’s bronze doors bear reliefs representing the Ten Commandments.
Inside the church is lavishly gilded.
Above the high altar, stands a statue depicting St Mary Magdalene being lifted up by angels.
Eglise Saint Eustache
Built between 1532 and 1632, this church is situated near the medieval marketplace of Les Halles.
While its structure is Gothic, the interior is Renaissance and Classical.
The side chapels were so colourful.
The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored in 1804. It is highlighted by three major paintings by painter Thomas Couture.
The church also has some truly magnificent stained glass windows including a rose window.
Situated at the foot of Montmartre, this church was the first example of reinforced concrete in church construction.
Built in 1904, the brick and ceramic tile-faced structure exhibits features of Art Nouveau design.
Another beautiful stained-glass window.
Of course there are literally hundreds of churches in Paris. These are just some of the ones we came across in our wanderings of Paris.
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