Sainte Chapelle in Paris was built to house priceless Christian relics, including Christ’s crown of thorns.
It has 15 stained glass windows, each 15 meters high, and together they depict more than 1100 scenes from the Old and New Testaments narrating the world’s history.
Annually more than a million tourists visit this Chapel, which holds a lot of religious significance for believers.
Sainte Chapelle is also referred to as the Holy Chapel.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know before your visit to Sainte Chapelle.
How to reach Sainte Chapelle
The Sainte Chapelle is at 8, boulevard du Palais, 750001.
The Sainte-Chapelle is located in Palais de la Cité, the medieval royal palace on Ile de la Cité, the island on river Seine.
It is half a Kilometer (one third of a Mile) from Notre Dame.
There are two ways to reach the Sainte Chapelle.
If bus is your preferred mode of transport, opt for bus numbers 21, 27, 38, 85, 96 or the Belabus.
If you prefer Subway, get onto Line 4, and get down at Station Cite. Or you can take Lines 1, 4, 11, 14 and get down at Station Chatelet.
From Chatelet station, the Chapel is five minutes by walk.
Sainte Chapelle hours
Sainte Chapelle in Paris is open daily, except for a few special days.
Everyday it opens at 9 am.
However, the closing time changes with the season.
2 Jan to 31 Mar: 9 am to 5 pm
1 Apr to 30 Sep: 9 am to 7 pm
1 Oct to 31 Dec: 9 am to 5 pm
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
Every day Sainte Chapelle closes for lunch from 1 pm to 2:15 pm.
When is Sainte Chapelle closed?
Sainte Chapelle in Paris remains closed on 1st January, 1st May and the 25th December.
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Best time to visit Sainte Chapelle
If you want to see Sainte-Chapelle in all its glory, the best time to visit is during sunset.
The sunset timings depend on the season – around 4 pm in the winters and approximately 9.30 pm in the summers.
But this is also the most crowded time at this Parisian attraction.
The next best time to visit is sunny weekday mornings – when the run rays enter the chapel at an angle and the crowd hasn’t yet arrived.
From 15th May to 15th September, every Wednesday the site is open till 9.30 pm.
If your objective is to avoid crowd this is the best time to explore the chapel in peace.
For some reason, Thursday ends up being the busiest day of the week.
You will find massive crowd around Christmas holidays, Easter holidays, weekends of the 14 July and 15 August which you should avoid.
Best time for photography
Visit the Holy Chapel one hour or so before sunset, and position yourself to capture the light through the windows, even as the sun sets outside.
If you can’t make it during sunset hours, opt for morning time on a sunny day.
When the sun is overhead, it is a bad time for photography because the rays won’t be entering at an angle.
Flash photography is both prohibited and considered non-courteous at this site so natural lighting becomes a key component.
Sainte Chapelle free entry
The Sainte Chapelle in Paris allows free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
The waiting time on such days is around 45 minutes and more.
Some visitors qualify for free entry to Sainte Chapelle, daily.
Visitors under 18 years of age can enter without tickets if they show a valid ID card with photograph.
European Union residents younger than 25 years can also avail free entry.
You will be required to display a photo ID or official proof of your residence.
Free with Paris Passes
Yet another way to enter Sainte Chapelle for free (well, almost) is by buying one of the Paris discount Passes.
These Passes help you save money as well as time (because you can skip the line at most places).
If you are traveling as a 4+ member group, we highly recommend going for a Paris pass of your choice.
Sainte Chapelle tickets
This is a self-guided tour ticket.
This Sainte Chapelle ticket allows skip the line access (yes, you don’t need to stand in any lines) to witness the Gothic period’s most beautiful stained glass windows.
The ticket has no validity period. Once purchased, you can use it anytime you want.
The ticket will be emailed to you and you don’t need to take print outs.
There is no need to take print outs.
On the day of your visit, just show your ticket on your mobile and walk in.
Sainte Chapelle ticket price
Adult ticket (18+ years): 10 Euros
Child ticket (0-17 years): Free entry
Sainte Chapelle combo tours
The site of Sainte Chapelle in Paris is close to many other tourist attractions.
For instance, it is 1 Km (0.7 Miles) from Conciergerie and only half a Kilometer (one third of a Mile) from the Notre Dame Cathedral.
This makes purchasing combo tours a much viable option.
Did you know that combo tours end up being 20% cheaper than if you bought the tickets individually?
Important: Earlier, Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame Cathedral combo tour used to be popular but after the fire at Notre Dame, the tour have been discontinued.
Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie combo tour
This combo tour allows you skip the line access to the Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie, a revolutionary prison in Paris.
While you can use up this combo ticket over the full day, it takes around four hours to see both of these attractions.
If you want the audio guide, it will cost you 3 Euros extra.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 15 Euros
Child ticket (0-17 years): Free entry
Dress code for Sainte Chapelle
There is no dress code for Sainte-Chapell. However, since it is a religious place visitors are expected to dress modestly.
Better to wear respectful clothes, to not hurt the sentiments of the others.
Halter tops, short shorts, low t-shirts with lots of cleavage etc aren’t advised for women.
As for the men, it is better to not wear a hat. Also, t-shirts with wordings such as “I hate God” or “I am GOD!” etc must be avoided.
Besides Sainte Chapelle, the Paris Museum Pass gets you free access to 60+ attractions in the city. Buy Paris Museum Pass
What to see at Sainte Chapelle
The Sainte-Chapelle is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world.
When you first enter Sainte Chapelle, you get into the lower chapel, which is smaller.
This chapel has the incredible night sky ceiling – a low vaulted ceiling painted to resemble a starry sky.
You then climb up a spiral staircase and reach the Upper chapel, which was used by the Royals.
What strikes you first is the height of the ceiling – around 40 meters (130 feet) high.
All around you see a total of 600 square metres of stained glass paneling which shimmers in sunlight.
However, to see the details on these glass panels you need a not-so-bright day.
There are a total of 15 large stained-glass windows, as well as the rose window, which was added 100 years after the chapel was constructed.
The stained glass in the Chapel depicts various biblical scenes from both the new and old testaments
Sainte Chapelle concerts
From mid-March to mid-December every year, Sainte Chapelle hosts classical concerts regularly.
Euromusic Productions produces these musical extravaganzas, and you can buy the concert tickets from the ticket office at the entrance of Sainte-Chapelle.
The ticket office is open from 10 am to 5 pm, on the day of the concert.
Here are a questions visitors to Sainte Chapelle concerts ask before they book their tickets –
Visitors of all ages love these musical feasts.
However, if you are traveling with kids, you may have to make sure they sit in one place for the duration of the performance.
These Sainte Chapelle concerts are perfect for both locals and visiting tourists who speak other languages.
It is best to reach the Sainte Chapelle 30 to 45 minutes before the time mentioned on your ticket so that you can go through the security comfortably.
These concerts usually start at 8 pm or later. Schedule
These concerts usually last an hour.
There is no intermission, which means you may have to be seated for at least one hour and 15 minutes at a stretch.
The concert performers are mostly French soloists, who are on the rolls of the production company Euromusic Productions.
Since the Sainte Chapelle is no longer a consecrated religious building, you don’t need to follow a strict dress code.
However, it is still a church, and it is best to avoid ripped jeans, hot pants, shorts, bared midriffs, beachwear, etc.
Visitors usually dress up differently – from dinner jackets to casual shirts and jeans.
In winters, Sainte-Chapelle can get cold because it is not heated, so it is best to dress up in layers.
These concerts are conducted inside the Holy Chapel which can seat 200 patrons.
There are three different categories of seats, all with good view of the performers.
The VIP category ticket gets you a place in the first ten rows.
Within a category of seats, you can pick your spot on a first come first serve.
Euromusic has a team of the best ensembles and soloists from Paris, who bring to life some of the classical music’s greatest hits at the Holy Chapel.
Performances include masterpieces by J. S. Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, and Handel.
Regularly masterpieces starting from the Baroque period through to the 20th century are also performed.
Yes, Sainte-Chapelle shows are accessible.
Wheelchair access to Sainte-Chapelle’s lower chapel is via a small ramp, and you can use the lift to go up to the upper chapel – if need be.
Taxis/cars can drop you off on Boulevard du Palais right in front of the chapel.
Holy chapel’s concert is at night. We highly recommend you also visit this attraction during the day to see its beautiful stained glasses. Book tickets now!
Sainte Chapelle history
Tourists have a lot of questions about the history of the Holy Chapel.
Here are three which are asked most often –
When was Sainte Chapelle built
The Sainte Chapelle of Paris is seen as one of the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture.
Its construction began sometime after 1238 and the building was consecrated on 26th April 1248.
Who built Sainte Chapelle
King Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) commissioned the construction of Sainte Chapelle.
It is believed that it was commissioned to architect Pierre of Montreuil.
Why was Sainte Chapelle built
Sainte Chapelle was built as a place for King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion relics, which he had purchased from Baldwin II, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople.
These Passion relics included the Crown of Thorns, the image of Edessa and some thirty other items.
At the time of the deal, the Latin Emperor had pawned these relics to a Venetian Bank. They were retrieved and sold to the French king for 135,000 Livres.
The construction of the ‘Holy Chapel’ cost around 40,000 Livres.