The Sainte Chapelle, or Sacred Chapel, is a gigantic gothic church right in the middle of Paris which many consider to be Paris’ most beautiful.
It was built to house precious relics such as Christ’s Crown of Thorns and the Image of Edessa, acquired by King Louis IX. The relics were taken all the way from Siria and Constantinople to Paris by the King himself, who entered the French capital barefoot to temporarily deposit them in the St. Nicholas Chapel while a fit place for them was built. Thus, the Sainte Chapelle was born.
The relics are no longer there – the French Revolution almost tore the chapel down and those relics saved are now at Notre Dame – but the Saint Chapelle continues to mystify tourists from around the world with its sheer beauty.
The Sainte Chapelle is divided in two: one can first visit its lower chapel, the architectonic foundation for the entire building. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this lower chapel is accessible to everyone and features countless columns supporting the Sainte Chapelle’s ceiling and bearing the weight of the entire structure.
This higher area is truly breathtaking, with 20 m (65 ft) high ceilings and stained-glass windows seeming to replace its walls. This is actually the Sainte Chapelle’s most beautiful attraction, as the mosaics create a mesmerizing play of colored lights on the floor during sunny days. Just make sure you bring your camera along – Sainte Chapelle is easily Paris’ most photogenic attraction.
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