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time for Saint Chappelle?

My husband and I will be arriving via TGV from the Loire Valley into the Gare Montparnasse in Paris at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29. First question: 1) whether or not we have time to see the Saint Chappelle late afternoon/evening of our arrival. (We have 6 full days in Paris, departing the following Sunday, Oct, 6.) Tentatively, my plan is to walk (10 min) from Gare Montparnasse when we arrive to our rented apartment (in the St. Germaine area), deposit our stuff, and then head to Saint Chappelle around 5:00. On 9/29, St. Chappelle is still open until 7:00 p.m., but the last entry time is 6:30 p.m. (on October 1 onward, it closes at 5:00 pm.)
At first I thought we'd take a leisurely walk via the Luxembourg Gardens to St. Chappelle, but we need to also pick up our 6 -day Paris Museum Pass (at the RS suggested Tabac du Palais across the street from St. Chappelle). That should not take much time, but I understand the security lines at St. Chappelle are always long, despite having the Museum Pass. SO.....thinking we'd take the faster metro from our apartment directly to St. Chappelle, pick up our passes at the tabac, and get in line for a late-day entry to the chapel, if all goes well, around 5:30 p.m. Supposing we might get into the chapel by 6:00, is this enough time before it closes at 7:00? I know one strategy is to attend an evening concert and get the music and chapel experience in one shot, but we have more interest in seeing the chapel in an unhurried way before it closes, and then walking to the Ile Saint Louise area, exploring a bit along the way (via the route that passes by the, sadly, closed Notre Dame), and having a nice dinner in Ile St. Louise, or in the Ile de la Cite area around 8:30 or so. Doable?

Posted by
1825 posts

I think you'll want to visit earlier in the day when there is better light to see the stained glass. Besides, you won't be settled in your apartment 55 minutes after your train arrives. The walk from South of the park to St. Chapelle is longer than you may think. With the pass you can swing by St. Chapelle and if the lines are crazy long (they went fast when we were there) you could come back another time since it's so central.

Posted by
13684 posts

One of the reasons the security line is so long is that it is also security for the law courts. My guess is that would not be an issue that late in the day. I also agree that you’d probably want to see it with more sunshine.

BTW there might be a Tabac near your lodging where you can pick up the pass. I get mine down the street from my hotel.

Posted by
5319 posts

If you have 6 full days, just go another day. It is spectacular.

Posted by
186 posts

Yep, there seems to be a concurrence on this one--we'll not rush it and go another day. I do want to appreciate the light through the stained glass, and probably not having and time constrictions upon our arrival is a good idea. We can ease into the Paris scene! Thanks for your thoughts.

Posted by
10047 posts

Suzanne,
I think King Louis lX, St. Louis, would be very surprised that you gave him a sex-change.
It’s Louis, not Louise ;—)
Have a great trip.

Posted by
186 posts

Ha ha, Bets! So I did. (Well, he did favor high-heeled boots and wigs....:) Yes, I am sure we will have a wonderful trip--I am slowly but surely figuring out the itinerary and this wonderful forum is such a plus!

Posted by
5697 posts

FYI, we dropped by St Chapelle just after it opened and walked right in -- walked by at 11 a.m. and the line snaked down the street.

Posted by
186 posts

Yes, I am looking at a morning time for Saint Chappelle--good to know the earlier the better! Thank you for the input!

Posted by
21 posts

We had a very short wait with practically no line before noon this past Wednesday. I was surprised it was so easy to get in!

Posted by
8293 posts

Re the King of France referred to by the OP, it was not Louis IX, of sainted memory, it was Louis XIV who favoured high heeled shoes and fancy wigs.

Posted by
10047 posts

I was laughing so hard at your comment that I didn’t reply, but here’s some history for the reading public.

Louis lX and Louis XlV

The lX is a Capet, while XlV is from the House of Bourbon, different dynasties. One led massacres of other humans so was named a saint, while the other left a bankrupt, starving country for his descendants to manage.

Posted by
186 posts

Thank you for the history lesson--I clearly need one! :) For me, the name Louis always brings to mind the wigs and heels dude. Always learning!

Posted by
473 posts

We visited first thing in the morning. That was a great decision. If you go at opening you will have the place to yourself, at least for about twenty minutes. It is spectacular.

Posted by
33 posts

An hour inside St Chapelle is more than enough time. We had passes and I don't recall the security line being very long. We stood in line a bit, then realized we could walk up and skip the line with our museum pass, so that helped.

Posted by
10344 posts

The stained glass is best when it's backlit by the sun as it's going down in the western part of the sky. Concerts are often given at this time of the day (early evening)--a special experience!

Posted by
3387 posts

There is usuallly not much of a line when they first open...I went twice last summer and never waited more than 3-4 minutes.

Posted by
12157 posts

I guess all the funny stuff was edited out.

St. Chappelle can be really crowded. I've been twice. The first I bought a ticket for an evening concert - before sunset so I could see light shining through the stained glass windows. That's a good option in the evening. It probably won't be sold out in late September, so you can keep that in mind as an option.

The second time was on a free Sunday. We arrived about 1/2 hour before opening and were maybe number 50 in line. By the time it opened, there were probably 500 or more in line. When we came out there were probably 2,000 or more in line. Often late in the day, an hour or so before closing, lines shorten significantly. If you can make it before closing, I'd suggest trying that. If the line is long, or you can't make it, book tickets for an evening concert.