Archive for July 13th, 2019

July 13, 2019

Sainte Chapelle de Paris!

So on an already hot day here 29C and Paris let me tell you about a wonder of our world. Again, this is amazing as just notice briefly mentioned it in previous posts. One of the gems of our times and sitting in a superb location; come and see the Sainte Chapelle de Paris or the Holy Chapel of Paris.

It can be passed by really, need to look carefully me think. Tuck away in now government building you has one of the jewels of Paris. It is very popular, historical, and religious as well.  The Sainte Chapelle de Paris  It is located at the Ile de la Cité, the historical center of Paris, right over on pont du Change, you are in Bd du Palais, and stop at metro Cité ,line 4 in the 4éme arrondissement.  It sits inside the Palais de Justice, the old justice court of medieval times and today still doing its functions.


It is here that the crown of thorns was brought over by king Louis IX (Saint Louis) and he wanted a place to put them.  It was built between 1242-1248 ,and considered a master work of the gothic art architecture.  It is two chapels actually, the inferior one for the common people and a superior one for the king and royal family. At the roof, there is a statue of angel Michael.

The inferior Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, act as a base to the superior one.  At the superior chapel you have stained glass evoking kings David and Salomon, near the king Saint Louis. you have windows of stained glass all around and its most glorious beauty, that due to the renovations work photos are lacking.  the scenes in the windows show the Genesis, Exodus, book of Names, book of Joseph, book of Judges, book of Isaias, John the Evangelist, and the Child Jesus, the Passion,life of Saint John the Baptist, and the book of Daniel, book of Ezequiel, book of Jeremy, and Tobit, the books of Judith and Job, book of Esther, the books on the Kings, and  history of the relics of the Passion. The rosary window on the west side represents the Apocalypse and is 9 meters in diameter (about 30 feet).


The superior Chapel  with its multitude and intensity of the colors most mark the ambience of the superior  Chapel, as well as its elegance and height, which is almost twice its width. Although bright, the superior Chapel  is generally not flooded with light, as the stained glass windows of the 13C  are semi-opaque. The tympanum of these three arches were painted by Steinheil, who could not rely on anything existing, because the presence of the organ grandstand had kept this wall untouched. The motifs are the three scenes of the Old Testament sacrifice; a blessing Christ flanked by Angels in prayer and flanked by the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah; then the three figures of the sacrifice of the cross; the immolation of the Easter lamb; blood on the houses of the Hebrews (so that the angel of death may spare the firstborn); and Moises’ brass snake in the desert. Indeed, the Pontifical of Poitiers of the Duke of Bedford and an engraving by Nicolas Ransonnette were the only known iconographic sources, and helped to clarify the project. Thus, the canopy, symbol of royal power, has never regained its function, and the symbolic program of decoration, including the stained glass windows, the Apostles and the scenes of martyrdom of the medallions, remains incomplete without the bas-reliefs of the great shrine: with the scenes of the Crucifixion, the Flagellation and the Resurrection of Christ, they marked its culmination.


The stained glass area of ​​the superior Chapel covers approximately 615 m2, without the Rosary window. All the windows were in place from the beginning, but a substantial number was redone in the middle of the 19C, without altering the overall rendering and in full respect of the iconography and style of origin. The reading is from left to right, and from bottom to top, line by line. The reading begins with the first window to the north and the beginning of the Old Testament, and ends with the Rosary window dedicated to the Apocalypse: its windows date from the end of the 15C and are clearer. The narrative program begins with Creation, illustrates the history of the Hebrew people until its installation in Israel with the installation of kingship, and ends with the story of St. Louis receiving the relics of the Passion. There is inserted a prophetic cycle around the life of Jesus Christ, framed by the lives of St. John the Baptist who announces the Lamb of God, and the apostle John who has the vision of the Apocalypse.


The relics of the Sainte Chapelle are today housed at the Cathedral of Notre Dame,(since 1804)  such as the thorns, fragment of the real cross, the lance and sponge of the Passion, relics of the virgin, and the Marty lion, suppose the image of Christ. In the statutory custody of the Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and the Cathedral Chapter you can see them at the treasury of the Cathedral. And every Good Friday they are brought out into the altar for all to see.

Together with the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle  is one of the remains of the city palace or old palais de la Cité, that extended on this site covering the current Justice palace. The official webpage in the National Monument site in English is at


It goes without saying  that there has been a chapel here as far back as 922 tracing even to the first dynasty of the kings of France. Perhaps it was the ideal site chosen by king Louis IX. The Sainte Chapelle today is 36 meters long ( 119 ft)  without the objects and 33 meters with them, the exterior wide measures are 17 meters and the interior 16.70 meters ; the highs from floor to spike is 42.5 meters (140 ft).  To the right and left of the nave, there are two vaults lowered, that have two benches with insignias, indicating the place where Saint Louis and Blanche of Castile did their Mass and its offices facing each other.


Although the Sainte-Chapelle has been officially closed to religious service since the French revolution, it is periodically returned to its original devotion. Thus, the Catholic Group of the Palace, which gathers magistrates, lawyers, clerks, and members of the personnel of the court-house of Paris, ensures since between the big wars, the Catholic spiritual presence in the Sainte-Chapelle . The chaplain of the group celebrates every year a memorial mass at All Saints’ Day, as well as a Mass of the Saint-Yves in May, one of the patron Saints of the jurists. On March 21, 2014, on the occasion of the opening of the Saint-Louis ‘s year , Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, led in procession the Holy Crown of Thorns from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Sainte-Chapelle for the first time since the monarchy!. A solemn Mass was celebrated there, and broadcast live on a giant screen installed in  place Louis-Lépine.

The walls and stained glass of the Sainte-Chapelle  where it was created the most beautiful pages of the French music from the Grand Siècle with the nomination of Marc-Antoine Charpentier as the master musician in1698.  He will occupy this post until his death in 1704. He composes his last chefs-d’œuvre amongt them we can site the Oratory,the Jugement of Salomon ,the Mass from the dead  the psalms of Darkeness , and one of the most beautiful Masses written for the Assomption of the Virgin Mary.

More info here: Toursit office of Paris on the Sainte Chapelle in English

Tourist office of the Ile de France region on the Sainte Chapelle

One of the must places to see in Paris, hope it will bring you over. Its gorgeous inside and out. Enjoy the Sainte Chapelle de Paris or Holy Chapel of Paris!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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