Paris chapel named one of best hidden secrets in tourist poll

The monument on the Ile de la Cité dates back to the thirteenth century

The 15-metre-high stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible
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The Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is one of the best hidden treasures in the world, according to a new ranking by airline Wizz Air.

It was revealed last month when Wizz Air drew up the world's top 10 hidden treasures based on ratings and reviews on the TripAdvisor website.

Sainte-Chapelle came in second place with a rating of four and a half stars.

It was erected in the thirteenth century on the Ile de la Cité in Paris and during the Middle Ages it was the symbol of the religious prestige of France thanks to its architecture and relics.

A prestigious palace

The Sainte-Chapelle was built in the middle of the thirteenth century at the request of Louis IX, the future Saint Louis.

Work began in 1241 and was completed in less than seven years – a record time for a Palatine chapel with so much goldsmith's work.

The chapel went on to house 22 prestigious relics of the Passion of Christ acquired between 1239 and 1241, including the Holy Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the True Cross.

"Paris became, in the eyes of medieval Europe, a 'new Jerusalem', and thus the beacon of Western Christendom," it is written on the monument's website.

Extensive restoration work

The Sainte-Chapelle was heavily damaged during the Revolution, as well as being damaged by fires in 1630 and 1776. As a result it has since been the subject of extensive restoration work.

Restoration work carried out between 1840 and 1869 brought it back to its thirteenth-century appearance.

The chapel was saved from destruction "thanks to the pressure of public opinion and great defenders such as Victor Hugo," according to its website.

Today visitors come from all over the world to the chapel, its 15 stained-glass windows and finely carved decoration.

At 15-metres-high the windows depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

Brian Devore/Shutterstock

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