Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic chapel located on the Île de la Cité in Paris, built in the 13th century by Louis IX (St. Louis). It was designed in 1241, begun in 1246 and completed very quickly, being consecrated in April 1248. Its patron was the devout French king Louis IX, who built it to serve as chapel of the royal palace. The rest of the palace disappeared completely, being replaced by the present Palace of Justice. Once completed, the Sainte-Chapelle lacked sanctification by the presence of appropriate relics, and thus the crown of Christ’s thorns obtained from the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, was obtained for the exorbitant sum of 135,000 pounds. To get an idea of relativity, the construction of the whole chapel cost £ 45,000. In addition to other relics, a fragment of Vera Cruz was added and, in this way, the building became a precious reliquary. It consists of two overlapping chapels, the lower reserved for the officials and residents of the palace, and the upper for the royal family. The idea of a palatial chapel was based on the Church of the Virgin of Pharos, annexed to the Great Palace of Constantinople, where the relics were plundered by the Latin Empire during the occupation of the capital of the Byzantine Empire (1204-1261).
The most beautiful and remarkable aspects of the building, considered the best of its kind in the world, are its stained glass windows framed by delicate stone work, with rosettes added to the upper chapel in the 15th century. There is no direct mention to the architect, but the name of Pierre de Montreuil, who rebuilt the apse of the Basilica of Saint-Denis and completed the facade of Notre Dame Cathedral, is sometimes associated with the project. During the French Revolution the chapel was transformed into an administrative office and the stained glass windows were covered with huge cupboards. Its hidden beauty was thus inadvertently preserved from the vandalism it suffered elsewhere, and the choir seats and the main altar panel, the ceiling pinnacle lying down, and many of its scattered relics were destroyed. In the nineteenth century Viollet-le-Duc restored Sainte-Chapelle, and the current pinnacle is his work.