March 4, 2009

Theme Thursday - Glass


Sainte-Chapelle

On the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, just a stone’s throw away from Nôtre Dame, is Sainte-Chapelle. While smaller and less famous than Nôtre Dame, Saint-Chapelle is equally one of the most thrilling experiences in Paris. The stained glass in this chapel, set in a delicate framework of arches and buttresses, is considered to be some of the best in the world. The fifteen stained glass windows in the upper chapel – each one over 50 feet high and 14 feet wide - literally surround you from floor to ceiling with a masterpiece of colour and light.


My husband, son and I visited in the spring of 2003. This was the only venue on our trip in which we subjected to fairly tight security. The chapel itself is now surrounded by the Palais de Justice and it was quite common to hear the “wee-wah, wee-wah” of the French police cars as they drove into the adjoining grounds.

Originally built by Louis IX in the 1240s to house sacred relics brought back from the Crusades, Sainte-Chapelle is the epitome of High Gothic Architecture.

Sainte-Chapelle has two levels. The ground floor is rather dark and close. After lining up to enter, I was worried that this was all that we had come for. But the second level had the radiant, tall windows. Slender columns of blue and red camoflagued the supporting pillars that led to a vaulted ceiling of star-strewn blue, seemingly floating above the magnificent stained glass windows. The Gothic architecture of Sainte-Chapelle is a prime example of an architectural style called "Rayonnant" which strived to achieve a sense of weightlessness.

We waited without success for the noon-day sun to shine through the glass. I think it would have been miraculous. The pictures we took that day are good but not remarkable.

Two-thirds of these windows are original and represent the most complete collection of 13th century stained glass art. Although seriously damaged during the French Revolution, the windows were remarkably restored in the 1800s.
Sainte-Chapelle has been a national historic monument since 1862.

28 comments:

John-Michael said...

Utterly enchanting!

Thank you.

Lovingly ...

Ronda Laveen said...

That is an inspiring space. It is so old and remains strong to this day. Stunning!

High Desert Diva said...

When I make it to France, this is one of the places I long to see....

Leah said...

I have been there, and indeed it is thrilling. Thank you so much for reminding me!

willow said...

Thanks for transporting me there this morning. I especially enjoyed the sounds effects! Wee-wah..wee-wah! :^)

Candie Bracci said...

Glasses from Chapelles and churches are really beautiful.Love the architecture,I've seen that one on documentaries but I never been to Paris,being french and never been to Paris,I know..

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it is a magical place....

I can't believe I didn't think of putting up a pic I snapped during one of my visits....although I've only been to paris a few times, each time I've visitied sainte-chapelle.... but, now that I think of it like your pics mine were okay, but not remarkable....so now I guess I can believe why I didn't think of it.....

Marianna said...

Great post! Thank you for the information.

I wish I can visit Paris someday and I will definitely visit this wonderful historic monument!

take care
peace and love
xoxo

subtorp77 said...

This is what I'd be looking for, if ever I was agian in France. It's the lesser attractions that can simply awe one.

Brian Miller said...

wow. what a fantastical place to visit. the pic is enchanting and can barely imagine what it would look like all lit up by the sun.

The Clever Pup said...

The picture I borrowed from Wiki. Mine just didn't do it justice.

Dakota Bear said...

I was there in March 1999. Like you I was completely overwhelmed once I made my way up the stairway to the upper level. That is one of the most spectacular sites of stained glass I have seen in the world.

giulia said...

Thank you, CP. Wonderful to be reminded...it's been so long. Writing about another, different chapel right now & your perspective on this is inspiration. ciao.

Colette Amelia said...

Like you I was really interested in what you had to say...and tres interesting it was!

thanks for that illuminating post!

Dot-Com said...

I remember being there many years ago. The stained glass is indeed very inspiring. Great post!

lady jicky said...

It is something to see and we waited and waited for some sun but .... oh hell, it was still beautiful! LOL

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

It is truly gorgeous! I went to a classical music concert there...such a beautiful memory.
Catherine

Megan said...

Amazing that something so fragile has (mostly) survived for so long. I hope I get a chance to see it someday. Beautiful!

Evening Light Writer said...

The picture really took my breath away. I've always wished to go to Paris, it is on my must visit before I die list. I feel a sort of kindred closeness to anything French, I'm not sure why though. I think I just love it. Your post took me there, to that beautiful place, thank you.

Mary-Laure said...

I adore this place.
Björk once gave a concert there, it must have been heavenly.

Michael Rawluk said...

I would love to get to Paris and all the gorgeous buildings.

justpenneys said...

Paris is so amazing, and I'm sorry I never got to see this! My son was 9 at the time, and there were only so many places his little feet could get to. I dream of going back one day. This was so enjoyable to read this a.m.
Thank you..
xo,
justpenneys

The Clever Pup said...

Hi justpenneys,

My little guy was 9 at the time too. We all had sore feet and his dad and I had sore backs. Needless to say Pere Lachaise after lunch was a bit of a wash-out.

Kris said...

That is good looking.

Ima Wizer said...

My goal in life is to visit Paris, 2 to 3 weeks of just gazing....now I will add this to the list of places I long to see....just gorgeous! I hope I get there before I'm too old to do it.

Just Penneys said...

My husband was working, and Brandon and I walked all day.. He was so exhausted, and so very patient..
We had to find a place to have a bite before we made it back to the hotel, and the only place we could find open, offered us pea soup. At 26, he still has a passion for pea soup.
xo,
justpenneys

tony said...

Another fine Reason for visiting Paris! Why does light look so good in Churches?

Cuppa Jo said...

Sainte-Chappelle is one of my favorites if only because King Louis had it built with such devotion. It's peaceful.

I think I should go back soon.