The Holy Chapel (French: Sainte-Chapelle) is one of Paris’ most visited monuments, so we advise you to plan your visit during off-peak hours, to avoid queuing up but also to appreciate fully the interior of the monument. Real work of art of the gothic period, the Holy Chapel isn’t an ordinary church. It was indeed built during the 13thcentury as a sacred place to house the Passion Relics (the Crown of Thorns, a piece of the cross,…) purchased by the King, Louis IX.
Although these relics aren’t in the Holy Chapel any more (a part has been destroyed during the French Revolution, the other is in Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral), the place still remains a sumptuous building steeped in history. While entering the building, you will first discover the lower chapel, a more functional level because it was mainly built to bear the weight of the higher chapel. But you will nevertheless appreciate the rich decorations and fine-spun details of a purely gothic architecture. We only regret the presence of a long gift store on the left side, which will probably harm your assessment of the place…
After visiting the lower chapel, climb up the charming spiral staircase to get to the higher chapel, real gem of the place. This over than 15 metres high hall is full of gilt, highlighted by the daylight that shines through the stained glass windows. Each of these windows surrounding the higher chapel, which are currently being renovated, represents a scene of the Bible. You will for that matter find a big sheet explaining the different visible scenes.
So feel free to walk around the hall with these explanations to truly immerse yourself into the atmosphere of the place. This will probably help you to understand the unique character of the Holy Chapel. Please finally note that the entrance is a little expensive for the visit alone (8€), but that you can combine it with the visit of the Conciergerie (12€ together) for a more attractive price and a more complete visit of the île de la cite. A not-to-be-missed visit !