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Posts tagged Church

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.

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

The grand Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

The Notre Dame Cathedral is possibly the other iconic structure defining Paris, next to the Eiffel Tower. Located at the small island Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine, it is literally at the center of Paris. Notre Dame means “Our Lady” in French, and it is one of the first Gothic cathedrals in the world. Its construction began in 1163, only to be finished almost a hundred years later.
Notre Dame de Paris facade
Notre Dame de Paris

Point Zero and our matching granny socks (it was cold out the day we visited). The center of France and the site where all distances are measured.
Point Zero

The facade and view from the side– the flying buttresses support the roof.
Notre Dame de Paris, buttresses and facade

The cathedral interiors. It is ten stories high and can fit 6,000 worshippers.
Notre Dame Interiors
pilgrims at Notre Dame

During the Second World War, it was feared that the Germans would bomb the church and destroy the stained glass windows, hence they were taken down during the war.
Notre Dame South Rose window
Notre Dame de Paris

The nave (L), and one of the side aisles (R).
Notre Dame de Paris naves
Notre Dame de Paris interiors

There is no admission fee to go inside the cathedral, however it costs 8€ to go up the tower (covered by the Paris Museum Pass). It is 400 steps up, no lift. If you are fit enough to go up the stairs, you shall be rewarded with a nice view of the city from Paris’s center. Pictured, Eiffel and environs, and the Sacré Cœur on hilly Montmartre.
view from Notre Dame
view from Notre Dame

Quasimodo’s friends. The chimera / chimères, from the Galerie des Chimères are not to be confused with gargoyles. They actually function as rainspouts.

One of the more popular chimères, Stryga

Angel watching over Paris,and another chimère
Notre Dame de Paris chimeres

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Metro: Cité / Hotel de Ville / St. Michel
Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame 75004 Paris

France / Writing

visiting Eglise St-Sulpice

Eglise St-Sulpice, officially the first stop of our Paris trip. We took the metro from our flat on the 13th arrondisement to the St-Sulpice metro stop and walked to the church. It was a Sunday and we meant to hear mass as well.

I’ve taken a slight fascination with Eugène Delacroix, mainly because of Liberty Leading the People / La Liberté guidant le peuple (you know, from that Coldplay album cover)– for a time it was on my bucket list and a few days into our trip I finally saw the real thing at the Louvre. This church has plenty of his paintings, which he managed to complete just before his death, while battling illness.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Eugène Delacroix; St-Sulpice facade

Another thing that St-Sulpice is famous for is its mention in the Da Vinci Code. I’ve read this book many years ago and I barely remember anything about it now, only the fact that it was entirely believable to the common person. Most Dan Brown fans come here to see the meridian line / gnomon, which is actually a 16th century astronomical device that tells exact time of the Summer and Winter Solstice; but in truth, it does not actually follow the mythical “Rose Line.” The church even posted a warning of this false claim.

We also stayed a bit after mass for the organ concerto. Pardon my untrained ear, but it sounded to me like the kind of music one would play in a film while Dracula is about to bite into the fleshy bosom of a young maiden. Or something like that.

One of the world’s largest pipe organs- with 6,700 pipes; Saint Jean Baptiste de la Salle, founder of mon école

Pipe Organ