A must-see

article | Reading time5 min

The Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic jewel

Façade nord et tourelle de la sacristie et du trésor

Its sculpted decor and stained glass windows make it a must-see building in the château de Vincennes. Come and admire the Sainte-Chapelle at château de Vincennes, a marvel of Gothic art!

A Gothic masterpiece

Charles V's last project

After the keep and its fortifications, Charles V founded the Sainte-Chapelle at château de Vincennes in 1379. It was an essential element of his architectural project. Its purpose was to affirm the divine dimension of the French monarchy. It was also intended to house fragments of the Passion relics acquired by Louis IX in the 13th century.

The architect Raymond du Temple built this holy chapel inspired by that of the Palais de la Cité. However, the project was long and costly, and Charles V, who died in 1380, never saw it through to completion. Construction was not completed until the Renaissance by Philibert Delorme, architect to Henri II.

Détail de la façade occidentale de la Sainte-Chapelle
Détail de la façade occidentale

© Jean-Pierre Delagarde / Centre des monuments nationaux

Stone and glass


Unlike its Parisian model, the Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes is built on a single level. Its structure borrows from the Radiant Gothic style, with high windows separated by powerful buttresses. It then evolved into the Flamboyant Gothic style, with its profusion of ornate sculptures. The sumptuous decoration on the west façade is a perfect example!

Let's take a look at the choir's magnificent stained glass windows. Representing the Apocalypse according to Saint Jean, they were donated by Henri II between 1556 and 1559. Created by master glassmaker Nicolas Beaurain, they demonstrate an incredible mastery of color. Admire the blend of dense reds and blues with light yellows and grays!

Vitraux des vendanges et moissons faites pas les anges
Vendanges et moissons faites par les anges, détail des anges dans les nuées et sur terre.

© Benjamin Gavaudo / Centre des monuments nationaux

From the 19th century to the present day, a restored chapel

During the French Revolution, part of the interior layout of the Sainte-Chapelle was destroyed. However, as early as 1793, the stained glass windows were removed and preserved, proving that the chapel's historical interest was already perceptible. And did you know that, in 1853, it was the first part of the château de Vincennes to be classified as a historic monument?

The following year, Napoleon III commissioned Viollet-le-Duc to restore the western façade. Further work was carried out between 2015 and 2018. The rose, weakened by the storm of 1999, has been consolidated, as have the infills.   and the stone sculptures.

Today, the Sainte-Chapelle at Château de Vincennes has been restored to its former glory, much to the delight of visitors. Did you know that it houses the tomb of the Duc d'Enghien, executed at Vincennes in 1804?

Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes, détail de la façade sud vue depuis la courtine sud
Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes, détail de la façade sud vue depuis la courtine sud

© Jean-Pierre Delagarde / Centre des monuments nationaux

In detail

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