Sainte-Chapelle's relics or king Louis IX's compulsive shopping
With the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle is the oldest building in Paris. A real Gothic jewel!
It's the king of France saint Louis who raised the chapel: it was a huge reliquary housing relics of the Holy Cross and the Crown of thorns. Saint Louis bought them from emperor of Constantinople, Beaudoin II.
The building of the chapel was supervised by architect Pierre de Montreuil in 1246; it was dedicated on April 25th 1248. The whole thing cost 40 000 crowns and the shrine 100 000 crowns!
The Sainte-Chapelle is composed of two stacked chapels; the one on the ground floor was designed to the servants; the one on first floor was designed to the royal family. Above the sacristy, the king had his library and archives.
But unfortunately, the Sainte-Chapelle burnt in 1630! The reconstruction took time, such a point that they decided to demolish the chapel in 1790... Anyway, at that time, they transformed it into the archives room.
But the building was saved and restored by architects Duban, Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc, in the reign of Louis-Philip: they raised the spire in 1857.
The chapel was damaged during the French Revolution, so our architects had lot of work! They reconstituted the pavement, the decoration, the paintings...
Even the stained-glass windows were replaced, because they had been dismantled and sold... in order to put archives filing cabinet inside!