On a recent trip to Paris I took the opportunity to revisit the Sainte-Chapelle. My previous visit had been during the restoration of the stained glass windows, half of which had been covered in scaffolding.

Sainte-Chapelle from the courtyard of the Palais de Justice

Sainte-Chapelle was built in the Rayonnant Gothic style between 1242 and 1248 on the the Île de la Cité in Paris to house Louis IX’s collection of relics of the Passion of Christ. The upper chapel is adorned with a unique collection of fifteen windows, each one 15 metres high, and a large rose window (which was added about 150 years later) forming a cage of glass, two-thirds of which is original. The windows depict over 1,100 scenes from the bible.

Extensive restoration work was carried out under the direction of Félix Duban by Jean-Baptiste Lassus and a young Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the middle of the 19th century. The work was regarded as exemplary, and in the upper chapel is faithful to the original descriptions and drawings that survive.

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