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.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Sainte Chapelle is now open for visitors. As a safety precaution, the authorities recommend purchasing the tickets online.
To ensure social distancing, only a limited number of visitors are allowed per day, so it is better to book your tickets in advance.
>> Sainte Chapelle Tickets
All visitors must wear a mask and respect the social distancing rules in place, during their visit.
How to reach Sainte Chapelle
The Sainte Chapelle is at 8, Boulevard du Palais, 750001. Get Directions
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 many ways to reach Sainte Chapelle.
If bus is your preferred mode of transport, opt for route numbers 21, 27, 38, 85, 96.
You can get the latest routes and bus schedule from RAPT, who operate the Paris transit buses.
If you prefer Subway, get onto Line 4, and get down at Station Cite, from where Sainte Chapelle is around 200 meters (650 feet).
Or you can board Lines 1, 4, 11, 14 and get down at Station Chatelet, from where the Chapel is only five minutes by walk.
You can also take Batobus, and reach the Chapel from River Seine.
Sainte Chapelle hours
Sainte Chapelle in Paris opens daily at 9 am but its closing time changes with the season.
Sainte Chapelle’s closing time
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 the time of closure.
Every day from 1 pm to 2:15 pm, Sainte Chapelle shuts down for lunch.
When is Sainte Chapelle closed?
Sainte Chapelle in Paris remains closed on 1st January, 1st May and the 25th December.
Best time to visit Sainte Chapelle
The best time to visit Sainte-Chapelle and see it in all its glory, 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 sun rays enter the Chapel at an angle and the crowd hasn’t yet arrived.
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.
Sainte Chapelle at night
From 15th May to 15th September, every Wednesday Sainte Chapelle is open till 9.30 pm.
It is the best time to avoid the crowd and explore the Chapel in peace.
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 the Chapel 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.
The Paris Museum Pass helps you save money as well as time (because you can skip the line at most places).
If you are visiting Paris for more than three days, it makes sense to buy the Pass
The Paris Museum Pass helps skip the line at Sainte Chapelle and the access is free as well.
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.
On the day of your visit, just show your ticket on your mobile and walk in.
Sainte Chapelle ticket price
Adult ticket (18+ years): 11.50 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 has been discontinued.
1. Île de la Cité, Seine Cruise and Sainte Chapelle
This is a 90 minute guided tour during which you start with Île de la Cité, a small island in the Seine with a huge influence on the history of France.
Next, head to the city’s most beautiful chapel – Sainte Chapelle.
After you have seen the beautiful stained glass at the Chapelle, you go on a one-hour Seine river cruise.
Adult ticket (15+ years): 36 Euros
Child ticket (2-14 years): 31 Euros
2. Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie combo tour
This combo tour gets you skip the line access to the Sainte Chapelle and Conciergerie, a revolutionary prison in Paris.
You will need around four hours see both the attractions.
The audio guide will cost you 3 Euros extra.
Persons under 18 and EU residents under 26 get in free with a valid ID.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 17 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 –
Note: Holy chapel’s concert is at night, and you can find more information here.
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.
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