The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris at Sainte Chapelle via

The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris

If there is one iconic work of stained glass in Paris, surely it’s the Rose Windows at Notre Dame. Ah, but there is more than one. This is Paris, after all! So let’s take a look at nearby Sainte-Chapelle.

Note: Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, proof of full vaccination is required to access the Sainte-Chapelle for anyone older than 16 years old. The presentation of a health pass is mandatory for visitors aged 12 to 15.

Last update: 1 March 2022

Our Lady of Paris: Notre Dame

Somewhere in the Rules of Travel, we’re pretty sure it says that, when you get to Paris, you must visit the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris. The medieval church on the Île de la Cité has been the literal and figurative heart of Paris since construction began in 1163. It still stands as one of the largest and most beautiful Catholic churches in all the world.

Notre Dame's Rose Window - The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris via

Once inside, you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the Rose Windows. Three, in all, join the chorus of color that plays throughout the cathedral. Of the trio, the star is the Rose Sud – the south rose window – presented to the church by the King Saint, Louis IX, in 1258. It is a masterpiece worth seeing.

Once you’ve seen Notre Dame and its treasures, then what?

Exploring Île de la Citè

This is the birthplace of Paris, and it’s worth having a walk around. Across the island from Notre Dame is Pont Neuf and Place Dauphine, with restaurants, cafes, and fantastic views. In between, you’ll find the Conciergerie. The medieval royal palace was home to the Kings of France until the 14th Century. It was later a revolutionary tribunal, and eventually a prison where Marie Antoinette spent her final days.

Walking down Boulevard du Palais, you might notice the gables of Sainte-Chapelle peeking over a row of office buildings. Though you can’t see much from the street, you can tell it’s a beautiful building, and it should be on your itinerary.

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Sainte Chapelle & Palais de Justice in The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris via

The King’s Chapel: Sainte-Chapelle

The name translates as Holy Church, the king’s own chapel built in the courtyard of the royal palace. King Louis IX commissioned the chapel to house his collection of holy relics, including the Crown of Thorns, brought back from the Crusades. The chapel was consecrated in 1248, with a soaring azure ceiling over 15-meter tall stained glass windows. The church has been likened to an elaborate jewelry box, fitting for holding the Relics.

The chapel served political purposes, as well. The King’s artistic and architectural patronage established Louis the leader of western Christendom. He was positioning himself as the obvious successor to the Holy Roman Emperor, with Sainte-Chapelle being his own palatine chapel.

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The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris

The upper chapel of Sainte Chapelle in The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris via

Not only are the 13th Century windows the most famous feature of Sainte-Chapelle, they are among the finest in the world. The fifteen huge window panes fill the nave and apse, with a large rose window added to the upper chapel around 1490.

More than 1,000 windows depict 1,130 biblical figures. The windows of the apse illustrate the New Testament, while windows in the nave are from the Old Testament. One set of windows continues Louis’ narrative of sacred kingship. They show the rediscovery of the relics, the miracles they performed, and their relocation to Paris by King Louis.

After nearly a thousand years in the heart of Paris, the windows had been in need of repair and cleaning. A seven year, $10-million restoration project was completed in 2015, in time for King Louis’ 800th birthday. The laser cleaning and protection of the windows was the last stage of chapel restorations begun in the 1970s. The renovations included replacement of the steeple atop the chapel, which had been removed in the 1800s.

Today, you can see the King’s chapel as close to its original design as it’s ever been. It’s a moving experience to see the windows of Sainte-Chapelle in their full glory. It is truly a “don’t miss” destination for your Paris To Do list, because they are the most magnificent windows in Paris. Maybe, in the world.

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When You Go

  • Sainte-Chapelle is less than a block from the Cité Metro 4 station, and just across the bridge from the RER/Metro 4 Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame station.
  • Bus lines 21, 27, 38, 85, 96 and Balabus stop at Sainte-Chapelle, also.
  • The entrance on Boulevard du Palais is also the entrance to the court buildings, Palais de Justice. Make sure you’re in the right line to see Sainte-Chapelle. Because it’s in the same complex, the Palais de Justice safety and access rules apply.
  • Adult tickets to Sainte-Chapelle are 11.50€, or 18.50€ for a combination ticket to see Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie. Children under 18 are free. There is a 1€ fee when purchasing online.
  • The Paris Museum Pass is accepted at both Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie, and is available by itself or as part of the Paris Pass.
  • Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie open daily at 9am, until 7pm from April through September, 5pm October through March. Both sites are closed 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December.
  • Bags are checked on entering, and bags larger than 55cm x 35cm x 20cm (roughly 20in x 14in x 8in) are not allowed.
  • It’s important to note that the stained-glass windows are in the upper chapel. The stairway is very steep and narrow, and there is no other access.

Have you been to Sainte-Chapelle? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, consider signing up for our updates (All wham, no spam!) or sharing with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter with the buttons below. (A million thanks in advance!)

Watch the unveiling of the Rose of the Apocalypse, from Centre des Monuments Nationaux:

48 comments on “The Most Magnificent Windows in Paris

  1. Great idea for a post. These windows are truley extraordinary, and the artistry behind them is so impressive. To have accomplished such a thing – it’s very humbling! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  2. Gorgeous representation of what beauty Paris has to offer. I miss that glorious city when I see posts like this. Excellent photos and the windows in Notre Dame are simply stunning. Thank you for coming to Fly Away Friday! See you tomorrow!

    • Isn’t it amazing? These windows just floored us. Next to Monet’s Water Lilies at l’Orangerie, they might be our favorite artwork in Paris! But I think we need to go see again. You know, just to be sure. 😉 Thanks for visiting!

  3. Alas I have not been here! I didn’t know about this beautiful building until now but thank you for bringing it to my attention. Stunning windows, and I’m glad they were renovated in time for King Louis’ 800th birthday,he couldn’t have had a decent party with scaffolding everywhere tee hee. Pinned! #feetdotravel

    • I’m surprised we got to visit without scaffolding all over! We seem to have a knack for coming before renovations are complete. So glad they cleaned up and preserved them. Thanks for reading, guys!

  4. I love stained glass and always stop to take photos wherever I am – Paris seems like a great example – these are so stunning! Great post to focus on a wonderful and often-overlooked part of sights

    • Us too – something magical about stained glass. There are a lot of great examples across Paris, but we were really Wowed be Sainte Chapalle. As always, thanks for stopping by, Lexx!

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  6. I think I saw an ad for Sainte-Chapelle when I was in Paris a few years back and I wanted go so badly to see the beautiful windows! Unfortunately I never made it there, but I’m putting it in the books for the next time I find myself in Paris!

    • You should! We were just stunned by the beauty – we didn’t want to leave! Hope you get back to Paris to see it – and enjoy the city! – soon. Thanks for your comment, Bryna!

    • Same here, Birgit. We walked past a couple of times before noticing a small sign. By the time it opened, there was a tell-tale line, but it would be easy to overlook, especially with people lining up for the courts buildings. We’re so glad we found our way – and you, too! Thanks for your comment.

  7. One of my favorite places in Paris! The first time we went, we almost left without going upstairs to see the magnificent stained glass there. Now we know! When I was there last summer, we hit exactly the best time of day to see the sun lighting up the colors. You’ve captured the beauty of this place very well!

    • Thanks Sharon! It’s one of our favorite spots, too. Have to admit, when we went into the first level we were a bit confused. Where were the windows? Oh…up THAT tiny staircase??? 😉 Well worth it! Thanks for reading.

  8. Simply superb photos Rob and Ann! I sure hope one of those is your screensaver. The architecture and colours of Sainte-Chapelle are mindblowing and I know where I’m heading first when I visit Paris eventually. Obviously the restoration was a success. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thanks David – High praise, coming from you! 🙂 The restoration was fascinating to read about – it’s also interesting that the stained glass is now bonded to clear glass so future dirt and soot can be cleaned of more easily. The result is just stunning. And yes, the photos make great screensavers. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  9. Wow that is stunning. Didn’t see this on our visit but have pinned in case we return! #feetdotravel

    • What do you mean “in case we return”??? You two are all over the place…we’re sure you’ll be back in Paris sooner or later! 😉 You’re going to love this chapel. There’s a lot in Paris that everyone says is “not to be missed,” and we’d put Sainte Chapelle on that list. 🙂 Thanks for reading, guys!

    • Well now you have a reason to go to Paris again! As if a reason is needed. 😉 We were so excited to see the chapel, and it was beyond what we expected. Stunning is right! Thanks for stopping by, and for pinning, Tracy!

  10. The stained glass windows of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris are magnificent and I was so lucky to have seen them from inside years ago. I hated to leave while there, I was walking around taking so many pictures. Thanks for taking me back to one of my favorite places in Paris. #feetdotravel

    • Isn’t it great when you get a happy reminder of someplace you really enjoyed? Sainte Chapelle is just heavenly (appropriate, eh?) and we were reluctant to leave, too. Can you imagine having been King Louis, able to sit in there as long as you want? I might never have left. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

  11. I am putting this on the list for my next trip to Paris. Those stained glass windows are so impressive! #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • Good for you, Anisa! I don’t remember where we first saw a picture of Sainte Chapelle, but it went right onto our Paris Bucket List. So glad we got a chance to see it. Truly a work of art! Thanks for your comment.

    • We know what you mean! Afterward visiting, we were joking that they should have shoulder massages downstairs after all of that craning your neck to stair up! A lot of pictures only show the windows, so you don’t realize that it’s mostly above eye level. Thanks for your comment, Kat!

    • Good to hear, Staci! We agree – it is heavenly. Especially if you get a nice, sunny day where the whole room is bathed in color. Just breathtaking! Thanks for your comment, Staci.

  12. Wow! Seeing those windows would be a dream. I love stained glass window though I don’t think I’ve ever seen ones as large as the ones in your pictures. Great information. #WeekendWanderlust

    • They are so dreamy! And they are definitely the tallest stained glass windows we have ever seen. Very impressive, to be sure! Hope you get a chance to go see them, and thanks for your comment, Sarah!

  13. I love Sainte-Chapelle – it has the most lovely stained glass in Paris 😉 However, the lines for visiting are some of the worst in Paris given how small it is and the tight security ;-( I’ve been a few times, but the last time I had a chance to visit I actually went to a market instead while Laurence went inside to avoid the line – going early morning or near closing definitely helps in terms of the wait.

    • That’s a good point, Jessica – Lines can be pretty long. We had a chance to visit in the fall and found the line manageable, except for some reason they didn’t open on time. We have heard that, if you visit in conjunction with the Conciergerie, you can avoiding the entrance / security line. We’re going to test that out on our next visit! Thanks for your comment!

    • Aren’t they gorgeous? Now you have a good reason to go back to Paris. Not that one needs a reason to visit Paris! 😉 Thanks for your comment, and we really hop you get a chance to see inside of Sainte-Chapelle!

  14. Can you believe I have been to Paris and have not been to this place? Not sure how I missed it since it is spectacular. I have seen pictures of the chapel but didn’t know it was comprised of 1,000 windows. That is kind of mind blowing. Glad to know the place was restored to its former glory. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • We can believe it! The tiny chapel seems to be overlooked a lot, and a little overshadowed by nearby Notre Dame. Each of the panels is 15-meters tall (!!!) but they are comprised of hundreds of small windows. You don’t realize it until you get close. Much like a mosaic – when you step back, it’s stunning! Thanks for you comment, Ruth!

    • We suspect many people miss them! We were just so amazed, we had to share. Thanks for reading, Elaine – Hopefully you’ll have another chance to visit Paris and see Sainte-Chapelle!

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