Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remember Sainte Chappelle?

Remember Sainte Chappelle?

Two days after we had the joyous experience of hearing Vivaldi in Sainte Chappelle, we thought we should try to revisit the church and take advantage of our (hopefully) free pass, thanks to our friend at the concert.

The spire of Sainte Chappelle towers over Ile de la Cite, tall and graceful at 245 feet.

(This spire was created in 1853, after a fire burned the original spire.)

The line was long, and Jerry moved to the front, explaining in his flawless French why we were there and showing him the note she had written. Similarly, we made it through security and to the ticket booth, where he explained we had been there two nights before.

“Oh, Jeanie and Jerry!” he exclaimed, with a big smile and great familiarity! “Welcome to Sainte Chappelle! Please go in!”

Ste. Chappelle is located on the Ile de Cite, the island on which Notre Dame is located, and where the Seine divides. (North of it is the right bank, and south is the Left Bank.)

The lower chapel is where the servants worshipped (and also serves a double purpose as the gift shop). The oldest wall painting in Europe is on these walls, and the arches are thick with gold.

The columns are relatively untouched. Or touched up.

I found it equally as beautiful as the upper chapel, just far more simple.

I was particularly struck by the beautiful golden columns.

And even though it was a lower level, there were indeed beautiful -- if small -- stained glass windows.

And the lovely altar area.

Of course, now that we had access, we had to return to the upper chapel. There are 15 windows, all depicting stories from the Bible. For example, Genesis, Numbers, Exodus, Esther – these stories are told in inspriational glass work.

The Rose Window tells of the Apocalypse.

The wall paintings beneath the window are works of art in themselves.

Stone carvings of the 12 apostles are featured on the pillars of the chapel.

And so many lovely details are throughout.

And, its spire, seen from outside, is 245 feet, rising over the island.

The King and his mother sat in these booths. His, below, had a large stained glass window with the story of Numbers.

The window above her alcove (below) told the story of Esther.

My guidebook says that in the Middle Ages, the devout likened Ste. Chappelle to “a gateway to heaven.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Next time – a visit to the Music district and the Opera!

Things I Learned Today:

It helps hanging out with someone who speaks French – if Jerry didn’t, we never would have been able to return here without paying the admission fee.

I didn't know about the windows and the various stories ascribed to each before.

I was surprised that a gift shop smack in the middle of a church (I mean, not even divided by a wall) could fit in seamlessly and unobtrusively!


Regina said...

Awesome architectures.
Thanks for sharing.


anno said...

Sigh. So beautiful. Sure looks like a wonderful experience -- great photographs!

(and the gift shop? doesn't surprise me at all...)

BONNIE K said...

This is beautiful. I continue to love taking this vacation with you without moving from my house...

Joanne Huffman said...

What an incredibly beautiful church! Yay for free tickets!!!


Laura said...

oh my goodness............that is breathtaking....I love old churches. I hope to get to this one someday. Your eyes must have had a feast.

Mary Timme said...

I love going to "France" with you. Thanks for the trip!

Beth said...

Oh, how grand! And so Thankful you got to go back and see it and for free! Loved the stain glass windows and all of the paintings and the gold column. So beautiful!

jet1960 said...

So beautiful!

Kristine said...

Beautiful! Almost like being there...almost. Thanks for taking us along virtually!

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