Yellow Van Travels

Visiting Sainte Chapelle in Paris

Our last day in Paris we went to my favorite place in the whole city: Sainte Chapelle. It is a small church near Notre Dame that has the most beautiful stained glass I have ever seen in my entire life. Walking into the upper room was like walking into a kaleidoscope of colors.

How to Get There:

Sainte Chapelle is just off of the Cité metro stop. (Check out the Paris Metro App to get step-by-step directions.) Once you come to the ground level, you will see brown signs pointing to the right. If you can see Notre Dame, you went the wrong way. As you approach Sainte Chapelle, you can’t really see the chapel from the road. The line for the church starts near the court building. There is clear signage, so you shouldn’t have a problem. Once you get to the line, you will have to go through security. Once you have gone through security, you will be able to go purchase tickets or use your Paris Museum Pass to enter.
Outside of Sainte Chapelle

What You Will See:

As you enter you will come into the dark main level of the church. It has beautiful gold details as well as beautiful paintings. Take some time to look around before heading upstairs.
Once you head upstairs, be prepared to be blown away. The room seems to glow in blues and reds and yellows as the sun comes through the amazing stained glass windows. If you know your Bible stories it is especially fascinating. Ben liked to describe the windows as a Bible comic book. To “read” the windows you will need to start at the bottom row and read left to right, then more up a row and read again from left to right. You will start with the window directly to your left as you are looking at the alter. The only window that doesn’t read this way is the very last window, on the right. This one reads from bottom, left to right then up a row and right to left, then up and left to right, etc.

Stained glass windows inside of Sainte Chapelle

Stained glass windows inside of Sainte Chapelle
Stained glass windows inside of Sainte Chapelle

Stained glass windows inside of Sainte Chapelle
Stained glass windows inside of Sainte Chapelle
Alter for Crown of Thorns inside of Sainte Chapelle

At the front you will see an amazingly intricate alter. This was used to hold the Crown of Thorns, what was believed to be the original crown of thorns that Jesus Christ wore while He was crucified. This crown is the whole reason Sainte Chapelle was built. Building the chapel only took 10 years and cost less than half the total cost of the Crown of Thorns.

At the back you will see another amazing piece of stained glass in a circular shape. Underneath that window, you can go outside onto a little deck-like area where you can see relief carvings of biblical stories.
Stained glass window inside of Sainte Chapelle
Relief carving outside of Sainte Chapelle

Sum Up:

Sainte Chapelle is an amazingly beautiful place that definitely needs to go on your Paris bucket list. It is one of the few churches that you are allowed to take pictures in so don’t forget your camera! This small but gorgeous church is totally worth stopping at.