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Rita Crane Photography: La Sainte Chapelle, Ile de la Cite, Paris

Un vrai bijoux de la Douce France, parmi les centaines de merveilles de ce pays de merveilles. J'aurais bien voulu reste' ici longtemps, mais la nuit tombait - c'etait la derniere visite de la journee - et nous ne pouvions pas tarder. Neanmoins j'ai tente' plusieurs photos, sans trepieds biensure, a cause de la foule qu l'on voit a peine, en bas de la photo. Quoi dire sure ce lieu: deux mots: un veritable tresor.

 

It was late afternoon on an overcast winter day, so the light in this astonishing jewel of a place was dim. The last time I'd marvelled at these glorious windows had been years before, when I was just 15. It was a bright spring day and they were sparkling in the sun. On that visit, there had been barely a handful of visitors, and one could walk around with ease.

 

This visit was entirely different and entirely magical in its own way. I loved how the rich colors of the glass came through better in the dim light, giving the space a reflective and peaceful mood. The number of visitors on the other hand, was indeed a surprise! You can see that the entire tiny space of this beloved jewel of French Medieval architecture is filled with people, many of whose faces were, like mine, tilted upwards to marvel at the sight.

 

There were a few attendants regularly asking the crowd to be silent so that this breathtakingly beautiful and delicate work of art could be enjoyed in the mood it was intended to be experienced. There would be a wave of voices: excited voices and whispers, that turned into a veritable din, then there would be a hushed silence for a few moments....til people's enthusiasm for the beauty took them over and once again the place would explode in a wave of intense sound, then silence again as the attendants asked for quiet. The enthusiasm and awe were palpable.

 

Altogether a mesmerizing and awesome masterpiece of High Gothic Medieval art. Unique because the entire chapel -- of which this is one corner -- is almost entirely made of glass, with hardly any masonry to hold up these sheets of color and light, made of 100's of 1000's of bits of gorgeous color that surround one completely with their beauty.

 

Here are some links to information about La Sainte Chapelle for you:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Chapelle ~ good interior shots & history

www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/arch/chapelle.html ~ architecture

www.sacred-destinations.com/france/paris-sainte-chapelle.htm ~ map et al

 

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Taken on March 27, 2005