How stunning is this most perfect example of a Rayonnant Gothic architecture? Sainte Chapelle is a not as well known and much less touristy Cathedral in the heart of Paris on Ile de la Cité. This is partly because it is hidden by the Palais de Justice and also because it is so close to Notre Dame, the much bigger and better known Gothic Cathedral of Paris.
I have been saving Sainte Chapelle for a rainy, cold day simply because I prefer cathedrals on dark, rainy days for some reason. I think it heightens the sacred and holy feel of the interior of a church. And, I just like to hear the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof echo through out the nave. Needless to say, yesterday was the perfect day to go. It had been rainy and snowy all day long.
When I studied Sainte Chapelle in my Cathedral Architecture classes at KU, I remember it always stuck out from the rest because of it’s purpose and it’s spectacular decor. It was commissioned by King Louis XI to house relics, particularly, the Crown of Thorns. It’s appearance most definitely reflects it’s function. When I walked in I truly felt like I was inside of a jewelry box or more appropriately, a reliquary (box to hold a relic.) The blue, gold, red and green colors were simply unforgettable and I thought it very befitting to visit during Christmas time! Staying true to a stereo-typical Rayonnant Cathedral, there were repeated, decorated motifs EVERYwhere. On the ceilings, the walls, even on the floors. The ornate pillars resembled tubes of Christmas wrapping paper.
Sainte Chapelle is such a unique, ethereal and beautiful Gothic Cathedral. If you ever go to Paris, remember to make a visit to this little hidden gem! I assure you, you will be dissappointed!