Tuesday, June 19, 2012


This and other posts are part of the "Paris Tour" party on Anita's blog, "Castles, Crowns and Cottages." The links are at the bottom of her lovely post HERE.) 

 If I had to advise someone on the "must see" church in Paris, it wouldn't be the enormous Notre Dame or St. Sulpice with its notable organ. It would be Sainte-Chapelle. So, after our visit to Montmartre, we were off to hear a concert!
When I visited Paris in 2009, I spent a good deal of time enjoying the beauty and history of Sainte-Chapelle, a ethereal church built in 1248 (Louis IX) to house the Crown of Thorns (now at Notre Dame.)
The Crown of Thorns was to go in this small altar, high above the main altar.
The windows are glorious, soaring to 50 feet, all depicting biblical scenes. When one enters, there is an involuntary gasp, as the windows reach heavenward and fill the room with reflected colors.
We were headed to Sainte-Chapelle for a Vivaldi concert. There are a number of these done at the chapel -- Rick calls them "tourist trap concerts" because they play the old favorites. (In this case, we were going to hear "The Four Seasons.") He prefers his music a bit more off the map.
Well, I love "The Four Seasons," and frankly, I would go to Sainte-Chapelle to hear them sing nursery rhymes, if they did it well!
We walked into the chapel, lit only with the electric candles and the light from the stained glass
It was simply perfect.
The twelve pillars of the apostles line both sides of the chapel. Carved in stone, they are intricate and lovely.
So, too, are the paintings on the walls. This is one of three panels by the rose window in the back of the chapel, where one enters.
The concert was 30 euros or about $45 and it was well performed, though frankly, I think we pay most for the venue. 
That said, there is an admission fee to Sainte-Chapelle if you are touring it in the daytime. The admission includes the upper and lower chapels and you can take your time getting a bit closer to things. 
If music isn't your thing, it would be less expensive to do the daytime admission and see the entire chapel. (Gift shop and lower chapel were closed when we attended the concert.)
But if it is, check out the concerts at this link. We were "stuck" with the "Four Seasons" due to issues with our own scheduling, but there are other options, usually two or three concerts during a week.
The acoustics are terrific and of course, you can buy a souvenir of your evening after the show!


Tickets are available at the door, but there is limited seating. You can get them ahead if seeing a concert there is really on your agenda.

I'm not sure if Sainte-Chapelle is on the "Museum Pass" which allows you to skip the lines and go straight in. It's worth a check -- the lines can be long during the day.

Read up a bit on this one before you go, so you don't miss anything. During the day there are helpful laminated info sheets in a variety of languages to let you self-tour. At night, these aren't there. 

If you are attending a concert, there is a small restaurant across the street and down the block from Sainte-Chapelle that offers respectable paninis at a reasonable price. It's not fancy but it's pretty fast and tasty!


Joanne Huffman said...

Amazing windows! I remember your post form 2009 about Sainte Chapelle and thought then that it would be a beautiful place to visit.

Tracy said...

GLORIOUS! A church concert is always so beautiful and moving, I think... This was a great treat to see, Jeanie...*sigh*... :o) ((HUGS))

Mae Travels said...

It's really like being inside a jewel, isn't it!

Mary Timmers said...

We were in Paris four years ago but didn't go to Sainte Chappelle. I want to go back for so many reasons, and this is another one! Thanks for the informative post!

paris parfait said...

The windows of Sainte-Chapelle are magical! So glad you enjoyed your visit.

Marilyn said...

This would be on the top of my list of recommendations too. I love concerts here and have also heard the Vivaldi Four Seasons. Your photos are gorgeous.

Jeanie said...

What awesome beauty, Jeanie. Simply perfect is the "perfect" description.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

All the Stained Glass Windows are just gorgeous! To sit and hear BEAUTIFUL Music while surrounded by such beatiful glass art---Nothing could be better!

Thanks, my dear, for your very kind and caring words about my dear brother. I truly appreciate them more than I can say. These are really hard times, I'm sorry to say.

Barb said...

Those windows are something to behold. It must have been an amazing space for a concert.

Friko said...

What a wonderful Paris trip this has been, taking in all the sights, smells, the food and atmosphere as well as art and music.

You are my kind of tourist, the one who appreciates another culture from their own in depth.

Ruth said...

You know I have done this a few times, and I think it is well worth the price, even sitting through overly familiar music. The light, the color, the space, what a privilege! I think it is important to tour the chapel at a different time in the day, to really focus on the windows.

During one of these Vivaldi concerts I was especially taken with the ensemble of string musicians and their repartee. I had a dream about them that night of such pure bliss that I woke up in a state of euphoria. I've noticed I go into that place when I am in Paris, like every ounce of me is poised for pleasure!

It is quite wonderful to revisit these places with you.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I LOVE St. Chappelle. I agree - it's a must see church in Paris. I saw a concert there in 2008, but I can't remember which composure or what score! I will have to go read through my archives! I would love to hear 4 Seasons performed as that is one of my favorites!

Suzie said...

Breathtaking! I dropped in here because I saw the shout-out about your blog in the Fall issue of Romantic Country. Scott Smith's Pumpkin Head Scarecrow caught my eye! No mistaking THOSE guys!

Your blog is listed first on their "What We're Loving" page. (page 12 in this issue)

Congrats on the acknowledgement! Browsing around your blog, I can easily see why you are on their "favorites" list!!

Maggie said...

Such a beautiful place to visit , I remember sitting inside just soaking up the atmosphere .
Thanks for taking me back with your wonderful photographs.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

This is breathtaking!

The Artful Diva said...

I wonder if anything other than Vivaldi's Four Seasons is performed in Sainte-Chapelle. My husband and I attended that same performance years ago!

The museum pass is an excellent deal - so glad you used it too.

Annie said...

I'm agog!! Gloriously gorgeous!

Arti said...

Yes, I've been told a concert at the Sainte-Chapelle is a must. But the last time I was in Paris there wasn't time for me to do that... and I walked passed the place. After seeing these magnificent photos, now I must go back! On another note, but similar... have you heard of the Paris In July blogging event hosted by BookBath. It's posting anything about Paris or France/French. You might be interested. I'm in it. Your travel posts would be just excellent for it. ;)

Peter Olson said...

I don't know why they "insist" on playing Vivaldi here most of the time. I believe that there would be sufficient interest from a sufficiently large public to attend music, better adapted to the place! However..., yes already the place is worth a visit!

... and Louis IX payed more for the relics than for the chapel!

Retired English Teacher said...

We did not go in the church while we were there. Now, after seeing your photos, I wish we had. Those windows are stunning.

Love, love, love your tips.

Toriz said...

Sounds beautiful!

shoreacres said...

This would be on my to-do list, for sure - and like you, it could be Vivaldi or nursery rhymes, although I could imagine other choices that might do better.

Still, a beautiful place with stunning windows. For some reason, Chartres is my favorite, but there certainly is an embarassment of riches to choose from!

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