Everything To Know About The Sainte Chapelle Stained Glass Windows

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Sainte Chapelle welcomes an average of 900,000 visitors per year; its design and cultural significance in Paris have established a firm footing in history. The first thing one would notice on entering this site is its iconic stained glass windows. At first glance, apart from its gothic architectural style, you would not notice anything unusual about the building; once you step into the upper chapel, prepare to be mesmerized by the beautiful ceiling-to-roof stained glass windows. If the myriad of colors on the glass weren’t enough to add to their appeal, keep an eye out for the various biblical narratives depicted on them!

Sainte Chapelle Stained Glass At A Glance

Sainte Chapelle
  • Sainte Chapelle, built in the 13th Century, was commissioned by King Louis IX of France. The construction which began in 1242 was completed in 1248.
  • The building represents a Gothic architectural style designed to house the relics of the Passion of Christ
  • You can find the stunning 15 stained-glass windows, measuring 15 meters in height, on the first floor. However, the cherry on top is the massive stained glass windows, measuring about 600 square meters, that covers the second floor.
  • The Sainte Chapelle stained glass consists of just five colors, blue, red, green, purple and yellow. Each window depicts 1,113 separate narratives from the old and new testament.
  • The chapel has gone through restorations twice. Once when it was damaged during the French Revolution and later when it went under an extensive renovation in 2008, costing a total of €10 million.

Everything to Know About Sainte Chapelle Stained Glass

Sainte Chapelle was commissioned by the religious ruler, King Louis IX, about 800 years ago during the 13 Century. After having bought the Crown of Thorns and other important relics from Baldwin II Emperor of Constantinople, King Louis IX needed a place to store these collections. This led to the creation of Sainte Chapelle and the formation of its magnificent stained glass windows.

With a collection of 15 windows, Sainte Chapelle stands out for having the most extensive collection of stained glass. They narrate the story of the Bible, from Genesis until the Resurrection of Jesus with intricate depictions. To top it off, about 600 square meters of glass is also housed on the upper floor as well. Rumor has it that King Louis IX had to chip in 235,000 Livres to acquire the relics, but on the other hand, he only had to pay 40,000 Livres to build Sainte Chapelle.

You would also notice the rose stained glass windows which were installed much later in the 15th Century, comprising 82 petals that depict Saint John’s Book of Revelation. Back in the day, since a large section of the population was illiterate, the stained glass windows were rather a helping tool to educate the crowd who could not read the Bible.

After Sainte Chapelle was restored in the 19th Century, it went under a massive renovation later in  2008. With the help of new and advanced technology, the entire project was completed within a six-year spanafter a 10 million Euro investment, keeping the beauty of the stained glass windows alive to this day. Today, as you step into the chapel, you’ll notice that the ceiling opens up into the most brilliant display of light, showcasing the five prominent colors representing a life-like kaleidoscope.

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Sainte Chapelle FAQs

How many stained glass windows are there in the Sainte Chappelle?

There are 15 stained glass windows within the Sainte Chappelle, depicting about 1,113 separate narratives taken from the old and new testament.

What is the duration of a Sainte Chapelle tour?

It takes about 30 minutes to an hour for you to complete your visit inside the chapel. It is highly recommended to book your tickets in advance to avoid overcrowding at the venue.

Is photography of the stained glass windows permitted at Sainte Chapelle?

While photography is allowed, flash photography and the use of tripods is not permitted.

Is a tour of the stained glass windows part of my Sainte Chapelle tickets?

Yes. All Sainte Chapelle tickets provide access to the stained glass windows.

Where are Sainte Chapelle stained glass windows located?

The stained glass windows are located on the first and second floors of the chapel, both available to see on a tour of Sainte Chapelle.