Monday, November 19, 2007
La Sainte-Chapel has to be one of the most beautiful things I've seen. It sits surrounded by the Palais de Justice, practically in the shadow of Notre Dame on the Île de la Cité where Paris was born. It was built by Louis the IX to house relics the devout king had purchased for more than three times than the price of erecting the chapel.
It was planned in 1241 when Louis IX obtained a piece of the true cross and construction began in 1246, was completed all within about two years and consecrated on April 26. 1248. It is just like the guide books say: It's like being inside a Tiffany jewel box. An amazingly large portion of the walls are fabulous stained glass and most of them are original. The walls are richly painted and it is truly awe inspiring.
Photos were prohibited when we were there, but many of us were clicking away (without flash). It's simply irresistible in such a lovely spot. It seemed to inspire reverence unlike other churches I've been in on my travels. Maybe it was awe, but the people there all seemed to be stunned to silence by the incredible beauty of the place. There were chairs along the side where you could sit and drink in the beauty and that seemed to be what everyone was doing.
The rose window is from the 15th century and I was just enchanted with it's colors and shapes. All the stained glass windows were restored in the 19th century and during the World War II they were removed to protect them and replaced after the war.
Paris is full of wonderful things and this is definitely not to be missed!