French Federation of Historical Audioguides

Holy Chapel

Audio guide in English

Cet audioguide est en cours de validation

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 Holy Chapel
Built on the Île de la Cité, the Sainte-Chapelle (also called Sainte-Chapelle du Palais) was specially built to accommodate the Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross and other relics of the Passion.

A monument worthy of hosting the most beautiful relics At the start of the 13th century, Emperor Baudouin II of Courtenay, the last Emperor of Constantinople, urgently needed financial support. In order to be helped as quickly as possible, he is selling the most precious of his relics: the Crown of Thorns, that is, the crown placed on the head of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. In the hope of finding a taker and an ally to start a new crusade, he undertook a long journey in Europe in 1237 during which he met the French king Louis IX. If the latter is unwilling to start a new expedition, he is nevertheless very interested in the Holy Crown and the relics pledged in Venice. In return for the sum of 135,000 pounds, the Crown of Thorns was brought to France and arrived in Paris in 1239.

The next day, a big ceremony is organized, during which the relic is placed in the chapel of Saint-Nicolas de la Cité. Three years later, two new relics sold by Baudouin II reach Paris: the relic of the Passion and part of the True Cross (cross on which Jesus would have been crucified). Considered to be direct witnesses to the story of Jesus and his crucifixion, the three relics in the possession of the king are pieces particularly venerated by Christians. Louis IX (Saint Louis) therefore decides to place these precious relics in a much more prestigious place than the small Saint-Nicolas chapel. He thus ordered the construction of a new chapel within the walls of the former royal palace on Île de la Cité, specially intended to house the holy relics.

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