The Sainte-Chapelle, or ‘Holy Chapel’, was built inside the Royal Palace on Paris’ Ile de la Cité around 1240 by Louis IX to house relics from the crucifixion. From the outside it looks like another Gothic cathedral, but inside it hides a colourful secret. The lower chapel is richly decorated in blues, reds and golds, painted with intricate stars on the ceiling and fleur-de-lis symbols. And this was only the servant’s chapel. After climbing up a narrow spiral staircase you emerge into the upper chapel. Dazzlingly bright on a sunny day, its walls are made up of 16 huge stained glass windows covering over 600 square metres. Much of it is original from the 13th century and it tells the story of the Bible in glass. And when the late afternoon sun hits the windows, it glows with spectacular, rich jewel colours.
Sainte-Chapelle is located on the Île de la Cité, with the nearest metro station at Cité (line 4). It’s open from 9.30am–6pm from March to October and from 9am–5pm from November to February. Entry costs €8,50 for adults, €6,50 for concessions or it’s free for under 18s and EU students aged 18–25.