a place in the world

Date archives May 2012

France / Writing

amazing light and color at La Sainte-Chapelle

I have been to many grand churches in the past and I could say for sure that Sainte-Chapelle is by far the most magnificent. Originally built to house the relics from the True Cross and the crown of thorns, the chapel is near Notre Dame de Paris, by the Palais Justice and Conciergerie complex. It might be much smaller than the grand churches of Paris, and the exterior is modest and fairly simple, but the interior is an overwhelming vision of light and color.

La Sainte Chapelle

I once read parts of Alice Steinbach’s travel memoir Without Reservations and it made mention of Sainte-Chapelle, as one of the most unforgettable sights in Paris. “You must stand in the light.” I knew I had to go.

The big crowd did not allow me to bathe in the light and immerse in the place’s grandness and stillness, it was still so lovely nonetheless.

Sainte Chapelle stained glass

The stained glass windows contain 1,134 scenes depicting the Christian story, from The Creation to The Apocalypse. To me they do not appear visible enough to be viewed from the ground level, perhaps one needs to stay in a better vantage point.
La Sainte Chapelle stained glass
la Sainte Chapelle rose window

It still looked extraordinary even with half of the panels under restoration– notice that the other half is darker than the right. Thankfully no scaffolding when we were there.

Sainte-Chapelle
http://sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/
Open every day
1-Mar to 31-Oct: 9:30am to 6pm
1-Nov to 28-Feb: 9am to 5pm
15-May to 15-Sept: last admission at 9 pm.
Cashdesks close 30 minutes earlier
Admission 8 euros, covered by the Paris Museum Pass

France / Writing

visiting the Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is one of the world’s biggest and most visited museums with a massive 35,000 piece collection. It will take you 100 days without any breaks to look at each piece for 30 seconds.

We transferred accommodations and now stay at the Chatelet area, 1st arrondisement, which is much closer to the Louvre but thanks to our bad sense of direction, we still got lost on the way to the museum, wasting an hour or two trying to figure out how to get there.

We finally reached the museum, stayed for a bit outside to take pictures and people-watch.
Louvre and I.M. Pei's pyramid

outside the Louvre

La Pyramide, and La Pyramide Inversée, made popular by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. The Carrousel du Louvre is by this area, below the Louvre. Plenty of gift shops, an Apple store, McDonald’s, and a really fancy paid WC which I really liked.

La Pyramide Inversee

Louvre pyramide

I am really not credible enough to provide definitive directions, which piece can be found in which floor or wing, Denon, Richelieu, or Sully… the place was disorienting to say the least, we just walked around semi-aimlessly prioritizing a few pieces we want to see.

me and A

The Grecian pieces. Venus de Milo (Aphrodite, 100 BC) is one of the most popular sculptures. Found in 1820 in the the Greek island Melos (now Milo) – it is one of the few rare Greek originals, as most Grecian statues are actually Roman copies.

Venus de Milo
Another one of the most popular Greek originals – The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike of Samothrace, 190 BC). The windblown details of the gown, and the stance, I find so striking. We spent a long time gazing at this piece. Said to be created to commemorate a naval victory in Rhodes. One of the detached hands are also on display at the Louvre.
Winged Victory

Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks, and his Mona Lisa.
Madonna on the Rocks and the Mona Lisa

These are the people photographing the Mona Lisa (La Joconde)

people photographing the Mona Lisa

A couple viewing the massive painting opposite the Mona Lisa – Paolo Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana. The scene where Jesus turned water into wine.
Paolo Veronese's Wedding at Cana

I really wanted to see this Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peuple), from the Coldplay record cover (ha-ha). It also inspired the Statue of Liberty.
Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People

Other pieces I wanted to see but we couldn’t find them: Cupid & Psyche, The Code of Hammurabi, Egyptian antiquities.

After seeing another dizzying number of art pieces, rested at one of the benches at the Jardins des Tuilieries, just outside the Louvre. Watched a pair of lovers sprawled like so.
lovers

Musée du Louvre
Open everyday except Tuesdays, 9AM – 6PM
Wednesdays & Fridays 9AM – 9:45PM
75058 Paris – France
Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre
+33 (0)140205317