Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stunning Sainte Chappelle | Paris Travel

Opéra Palais Garnier.

Our Silver Paris

Welcome to my Paris travel journal,
where I share our experiences of our special journey to Paris.
Please use these posts as a guide for your own travels
to this amazing and wonderful city!
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Prepare yourself!  If you love looking at photos, this blog post is for you.

After arming ourselves with deux parapluies (two umbrellas) bought at a Monoprix near our appartement (thank you, dear young lady at our boulangerie, for helping us out!), we were ready to face the rainy-day-that-wasn't-supposed-to-be-rainy.  (Turns out even can be wrong.  Very wrong.)

Rain notwithstanding, we had an appointment today.  A self-made appointment we weren't going to miss.  We started by walking down to Ile St. Louis.  This was our first day trip to the smaller island, and the streets and buildings were beautiful in the light.

Rainy street scene on Ile St. Louis.

On a street in Ile St. Louis.

We made our way over to Ile de la Cité, and passed by la cathédrale de Notre Dame.  We walked along the place in front of the cathedral, and along its tree-lined walkway.  It looked like a true autumn scene!

Along the place du Parvis Notre-Dame, headed toward Sainte Chappelle.

Even the street lamps were worthy of a photograph.  Can you see the gold detail?  Isn't it beautiful?

Beautiful lamppost along the place du Parvis Notre-Dame.

We walked up to the Palais de Justice, and turned left.  Once again, a line awaited us.  (Again, it's so smart to pre-purchase tickets to avoid standing in line!  But we didn't have a printer in our appartement, nor did our cell phones work in Paris--you can have the ticket emailed to your phone, apparently!--so waiting in line was our lot, not that we minded.)

Palais de Justice.

Finally, walking up to gain entrance to this church, I took a picture of the detailed façade of Sainte Chappelle.  Yes, it's brown/gray and not colorful.  But remember, outer appearances aren't important.

Façade of Sainte Chappelle.

This is what awaited us inside, in the lower chapel/sanctuary.  It was stunning (I think that's the first time I've used that word in my Paris Travel blog posts).

Closer to the altar:

Stained glass windows behind the altar in the lower sanctuary at Sainte Chappelle.

Detail in the ceiling above the altar in the lower sanctuary at Sainte Chappelle.

Detail to the right of the altar in the lower sanctuary at Sainte Chappelle.

We spent a bit of time in this lower sanctuary; the colors--reds, golds, and blues--were rich and beautiful and glowing.  Then, we climbed up a small spiral staircase and entered the upper chapel or sanctuary.  Keep in mind that a major portion of the side wall was currently under renovation, and was walled off.  However, this did not detract one bit from the sheer height of the ceiling and the brightness of the stained-glass windows.  I felt small indeed.

As you browse the below images of the upper sanctuary, also keep in mind that it was raining outside!  Clouds and rain definitely affected how those stained-glass windows would look on a normal, even partly sunny day.  But they were still stunning.

Detail of the wall below one of the stained glass windows.

The altar in the upper sanctuary.

Can you count how many people are taking pictures in the image below?  :)  I like the image anyway, because it gives just a hint of the sheer height of the sanctuary, and the awe that pretty much everyone there felt.  Also in the image, look for the lady with the big "O" for a mouth--I think she was just amazed at this church.  (She's in the lower right corner.)

The Apocalypse Rose at the back of the upper sanctuary at Sainte Chappelle.

Close-up of the back of the upper sanctuary at Sainte Chappelle, below the Apocalypse Rose.

Since we spent an extraordinary amount of time in the upper sanctuary, I broke out my macro lens and attempted to capture some big-time detail in the walls.  These walls are not just flat and decorated; they are carved with the most amazing detail!

Detail on the wall of the upper sanctuary of Sainte Chappelle.

Yes, the blues were just that rich in real life!

We stepped out of the massive doors at the back of the upper sanctuary and turned around.  Another breath-drawn-in moment.

Outside the upper sanctuary of Sainte Chappelle.

Detail above the doors at the back of the upper sanctuary.

Detail of the ceiling above the doors at the back of the upper sanctuary.

Then it was time to get even more detailed, by showing you the detail in the stone walls outside those doors.

Many of the stone sections showed the history of the world, from creation on.  I snapped several pictures of these sections.

Creation of the world.

Building the ark.

Entering the ark.

The dove with the olive branch.

After a most satisfying afternoon, we descended the spiral stairs back to the lower sanctuary.

Looking up as I walked down the spiral staircase from the upper sanctuary to the lower sanctuary at Sainte Chappelle.

Then it was outside, to walk along the side of the church.  You can see on the right where they're currently restoring the façade.

Once again, we braved the rain to walk back to our appartement.  I snapped the below photo of Fernando's parapluie, which had survived approximately 30 minutes, being taken out with one simple gust of wind on the way to Sainte Chappelle.  We were pretty wet, though, so he used the half of it that was still intact to make the walk "home."

Things I learned that day:  The weather can change 20 degrees overnight, just like in Chicago!  French umbrellas don't work.  The best weather site on the Internet can be wrong.  Even if it rains, and Sainte Chappelle is the only thing you do that day, it's a good day in Paris.

Treasuring life's moments,

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  1. Beautiful details. The colors are so stunning. And the gold is so pretty.

  2. Sainte Chapelle - my favorite place in Paris. Great pictures! Love the detailed pics. Visited twice, fist time was sunny, second time cloudy. Both were good, but the sunbeams streaming through the stained glass made the first visit more spectacular. With the cloudy day, you maybe were able to capture the richness of the colors better than if it were a sunny day. Rain or shine, looks like you had a wonderful time.

    1. Christine, Thanks for visiting! I long to go back and visit Sainte Chappelle on a sunny day! Plus, it was partly under construction so we missed seeing an entire wall. But either way, you're right--we did have a wonderful time. Thanks again!