Sainte-Chapelle: From Crown of Thorns to Rainbow Light

Discovering Sainte-Chapelle's Rich History

Sainte-Chapelle is the finest royal chapel built in France and has a truly exceptional collection of stained glass. Louis IX built the cathedral in the heart of the 13th-century royal residence, the Palais de la Cité. An enormous rose window that resembles a veritable wall of light and an unusual set of glass panels are also featured in the church. A marvel of French Gothic architecture is this church. This huge building has different visiting hours on different days of the week, so be sure to check the schedule of the church before visiting.

Possibly the most venerated building in all of Europe is St. Chapelle. Everyone who sees it is mesmerized by its magnificence and the extremely valuable treasure it holds.

The Parisian cathedral of Sainte-Chapelle’s wealth

France’s Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris has an extremely valuable and expensive treasure. After the opening of this collection by the order of Louis XIII, all valuable works of art from Asia Minor were bought at exorbitant prices and transferred to Saint-Chapelle. Louis XIV’s goal in collecting these works was to make France the second capital of Christianity in the world. One of the most important works kept in this collection is the famous Crown of Thorns of Christ and of course his cross. It is good to know that after many tortures, the Romans put a crown of thorns on the Prophet’s head after crucifying him as a sign of mockery.


The Church of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is presently home to this priceless crown, which is extremely precious and significant for Christians across the world. Also, a part of the cross that Christ carried to the place of crucifixion and nailed on it is kept in Saint Chapel. Due to the significance it holds, the Church of Saint Chapelle has become not just one of Paris’s most popular tourist sights but also a symbol that reflects holiness and contrast for Christians all throughout the entire world.

Visit to Sainte-Chapelle

The sanctity and validity of Sainte-Chapelle, its unique beauty and colored glass, magnificent architecture, and finally valuable treasures are all reasons for visiting this church by tourists from all over the world. Similarly, and in accordance with the World Tourism Organization’s most recent reports, 900,000 people visit Saint-Chapelle annually. It is interesting to know that even Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, went to Sainte Chapelle during a diplomatic trip to Paris in 1940 and visited this magnificent complex.

Architecture of Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris

Among the attractions of Paris, Saint Chapelle Church has a special and magnificent architecture. This masterwork, which uses designs in the Gothic style, is wholly medieval. Saint Chapelle Paris is a two-story building that was built in seven years and was able to become a tourist hub of Paris in addition to being a holy place. It’s fascinating to learn that the monarch and his courtiers were the only people who had access to the second story in the early years after this mansion’s construction.

Architecture of Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris
Architecture of Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris

The exterior architecture and facade of Sainte-Chapelle Church in Paris is made of small stonework, which is decorated with very large and heavy windows. So that the upper parts have 600 square meters of glass. It is interesting to know that these 1130 windows actually display images from the Bible of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Most of these windows are in green, blue, and red colors, and in the main facade, there are 15 very large windows. These windows actually display an image of a rose that is delicately crafted. As a result, and based on the above explanations, you can fully imagine this magnificent and beautiful building and understand the reasons for its fame.

Interior design of Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris

The design of the inside of the Sainte-Chapelle Church in Paris resembles the exterior in Gothic style, and it is noteworthy to note that it is considered one of the French Gothic wonders. The interior design of this church is full of colored windows, but the peak of the architect’s masterpiece is the altar, which is made as a symbol of the crown of thorns of Jesus Christ.

The colorful and beautiful windows of Sainte-Chapelle Church in Paris are world-famous, and when the light breaks, they shine rainbow lights on the altar. Likewise, a certain sanctity and spirituality will be expressed by the gathering’s amazing elegance. It is interesting to know that the large windows of the church itself consist of 1113 pieces of small colored glass and the reason for its use is to always shine light on the altar.

Interior design of Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris
Interior design of Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris

Sainte-Chapelle church icons

It’s notable that the Sainte-Chapelle temple in Paris, reputed for its stained-glass pieces windows, is filled with symbolism. According to this complex, the rays of light on the altar are a symbol of divinity and heavenly Jerusalem. Furthermore, as previously pointed out, the church’s altar represents Christ’s Crown of Thorns. All the windows are also decorated with the writings of the Bible, which brings a special sanctity to Sainte-Chapelle.

Damage to the Sainte-Chapelle building

The original cornerstone for Sainte-Chapelle Paris was placed in the 13th century, and this building has a lengthy past. It is therefore not unexpected that it has been repaired throughout time. Apart from catastrophic storms, Saint Shapel has also seen human catastrophes like riots and rebellions which gradually wore down the city’s architecture over time.

Throughout history, Sainte-Chapelle has experienced several terrible fires and, of course, a flood, which was accompanied by many damages and injuries. The Great French Revolution of 1789 was the most significant human event to seriously harm the Sainte-Chapelle during this time period, which also saw natural calamities.

During this revolution, the minaret of the church was removed because it was a symbol of the monarchy and all its decorations and pieces were looted. It’s important to note that many of the masterpieces seized from Sainte-Chapelle throughout the French Rebellion currently reside at the Notre Dame Cathedral and have never been restored to their genuine site.

View of Sainte-Chapelle
View of Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle restoration and rebuilding

After the revolution, due to the change of use of the church to an administrative complex, the building suffered a lot of damage. Until in the 19th century, a group of experts started to restore it based on the last remaining paintings of Sainte-Chapelle and even built a new minaret for it.

However, the most recent repair of the Sainte-Chapelle cathedral in Paris took roughly 7 years. In this reconstruction, a group of experts and archaeologists removed all the windows from the building and cleaned them with a laser. The second stage was to restore the glass cover on the windows to act as a protection and not change the shape of the building.

Today’s use of Sainte-Chapelle

Nowadays, Sainte-Chapelle Paris is widely recognized as one of France’s and Paris’s foremost tourist attractions. At the same time, according to the official announcement of the relevant organizations, public ceremonies are rarely held in this complex. But it is good to know that many times Sainte-Chapelle hosts magnificent classical concerts.

View of Sainte-Chapelle, France
View of Sainte-Chapelle, France

As we said before, the rainbow lights shining on the altar and the church make the whole complex more holy and spiritual. In the same way, the performance of live classical music in this space can be considered extremely effective and extraordinary, which will be accompanied by peace and unique experiences.

In addition to holding various programs and concerts, these days the Sainte-Chapelle Church in Paris has become the tourist hub of the city and can devote half of a day to itself. Undoubtedly, watching all this art, beauty, and light will take your breath away and its breathtaking architecture will be attractive to you.


Built between 1238 and 1248, Saint Chapelle Church is another magnificent example of Gothic design. Saint-Chapelle was built by the order of Louis IV, there is a unique collection of historical works in it. The distinctive images and paintings on the church windows, however, are what have given this area a dreamy quality and are the major source of the reputation of this church.

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