The important campaign of restoration of the glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle led by the Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN), reference heritage operator of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, has just ended.
On Wednesday, May 20, Fleur Pellerin celebrated at the Sainte-Chapelle the end of this remarkable project that began in 2008. The Minister paid tribute to all the stakeholders of this major operation and highlighted the crafts that have made it possible to restore the seven stained glass windows on the north flank, the masonry that surround and surmount them, of the archangel and the great western rose. The Minister also thanked the VELUX Foundations for their exceptional European sponsorship that made this vast project possible.
The CMN has taken over the project, which has mobilized nine million euros.

A masterpiece of radiant Gothic architecture, the Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1242 and 1248 by Louis IX, the future Saint Louis, in the heart of the Palais de la Cité to serve as a showcase for the relics of the Passion of Christ, including the Crown of Thorns. Its stained glass windows form a unique ensemble composed of 1113 figurative scenes.

 The campaign that has just ended, carried out under the mastery of the chief architect of historical monuments Christophe Bottineau, focused on:

- the bays of Saint John the Evangelist and the Childhood of Christ, Isaiah and the Jessé Tree, as well as the Book of Judges, from 2009 to 2010,

- the berries of the Book of Joshua and that of the Book of Numbers, from 2010 to 2013,

- Exodus and Genesis Bays, 2013-2014.

This work followed the restoration carried out between 1970 and 1986 on the windows of the south side of the Sainte-Chapelle, then between 1999 and 2007 on the bays of the choir.

To complete this major restoration campaign, the CMN also carried out the restoration of the western rose. His stained glass windows were deposited in March 2014. Their rest, which was to take place in December 2014, has been postponed to spring 2015 in order to integrate the latest contributions of scientific research. Indeed, the original installation system having been found, it was possible to restore it, helping to restore the windows to their original legibility and brightness.

All the canopies also benefited from a preventive conservation process with the construction and installation of a protective lining canopy.

On the occasion of the end of this great restoration campaign, the National Monuments Centre invites the public to discover or rediscover the Sainte-Chapelle. On the 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd of May, meetings, free nocturnes or specific visits are on the program to celebrate the rediscovered beauty of these exceptional stained glass windows.


CMN in Brief

The archaeological sites of Glanum and Carnac, the abbeys of Montmajour and Mont-Saint-Michel, the castles of If and Azay-le-Rideau, the national domain of Saint-Cloud, the Arc de Triomphe and Villa Savoye are some of the 98 national monuments, State properties entrusted to the National Monuments Centre.

The first French public cultural and tourist operator with nearly 9.5 million visitors a year, the National Monuments Centre preserves and opens to the visit of exceptional monuments as well as their parks and gardens. Their diversity illustrates the richness of French heritage.

Based on an adapted pricing policy, the CMN facilitates the discovery of monumental heritage for all audiences. Its operations are based on 85% of its own resources, including attendance, space rentals and sponsorship. Based on an equalization system, the National Monuments Centre is an actor of heritage solidarity. The beneficiary monuments enable cultural and scientific actions to be carried out throughout the network.

After the opening to the public of Fort de Brégançon in 2014, the CMN presents in 2015 the restored Villa Cavrois and prepares the opening for the visit of the Hotel de la Marine by 2017.