Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) is one of the finest remaining examples of Gothic French architecture. Built in the first half of the thirteenth century, it belongs to the ‘Rayonnant’ period, an architectural style characterised by an increased emphasis on ornate decoration rather than grand size. The chapel formed part of the medieval Palais de la Cité, where the French monarchy resided until the 14th Century. It was originally built to house Louis IX’s priceless collection of relics, including the Crown of Thorns of Christ, one of Christianity’s most cherished artefacts. Although damaged during the French Revolution, the chapel was restored to its shimmering prime thanks to a major renovation during the 19th century.
Much of the chapel as it appears today is the fruit of reconceptions by its various skilled restorers. But two thirds of the chapel’s most distinctive element, its magnificent stained glass panelling, are completely authentic. With 15 windows that stretch to 15 metres high, the Sainte Chapelle contains one of the most extensive collections of stained glass anywhere in the world. Its panels depict a total of 1,113 scenes from both Old and New Testament. This array of scenes and colours was no doubt intended as the defining feature of the chapel’s infinitely elaborate interior, but its remaining non-stained glass walls are also richly coloured and decorated. Equally impressive is the chapel’s high vaulted ceiling, painted deep blue and gold so as to resemble the night sky. Each year the Sainte Chapelle plays host to a diverse programme of classical concerts and recitals: as a unique Parisian show venue, things don’t get more atmospheric than this!
Past shows at this venue