A Visit to the Sainte-Chapelle

Ok, so I haven’t gotten the Moleskine Paris City Notebook or anything, but I do run around places in Paris.

As I noted in the post before this one, I went to la Sainte-Chapelle on Sunday. Since I went without a camera or anything, really, except for a Bible (TNIV from Urbana, not a French Bible), here’s a video:

The stained glass, I promise you, is splendid, though it’s really hard to read the scenes, and it’s worse than looking up in the front row at a theatre. And read it is, because there are 1113 scenes depicted, though about six of the windows were covered for restoration.

Apparently they have Four Seasons concerts (yes, Vivaldi), but I think I won’t go to one until the chapel’s restoration’s finished in 2011 or whenever and I somehow have a bit of money to spend on it.

On the south wall of the upper chapel there’s a hole – a shaft, really – that opens to another room. The other visitors probably think it’s just a ventilation thing, or they don’t notice. Anyway, I thought the room might have been for an anchorite or an anchoress, so I asked about it, and it was actually built for a king, despite the north wall niche having been built for Louis IX. It’s still interesting that a room for a king and the window into the main room is exactly in the form of what an anchorite would have gotten.

In the lower chapel, I observe that the central stained glass scene seems to be of Mary and Simeon, with Jesus out of the picture, though he shows up in several of the side pictures. The narrative sweep, though, seems obviously to be about the Christ, though, it’s true, the lower chapel’s dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. I still don’t have a good answer for why the central scene there seems to be of Simeon telling Mary about what her child will do.

Yeah, I read. I don’t just look at pretty pictures, though I surely do that too. Pictures have meaning, and this meaning includes both the narrative and the beauty of the form.


4 responses to “A Visit to the Sainte-Chapelle

  1. I went to Paris last summer. Didn’t get to go to Sainte Chapelle… I think it was closed or something


  2. Oh my.

    Seriously, I’ve forgotten that church buildings could look like that, after seven years in Asian churches.


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