Monday, August 15, 2011

A Visit to Notre Dame and La Sainte-Chapelle in Paris

Back to our first full day in Paris…

The Musee d'Orsay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (photo by Nicolas Sanchez)

We enjoyed a chicken sandwich lunch in the downstairs Musee d’Orsay cafeteria, then found a taxi to the Notre Dame Cathedral. We were glad for the opportunity to see the Cathedral, and the line was short. Hurray.

The astonishing thing about Notre Dame was its length. It’s huge. The center aisle goes on and on. Most of that aisle is roped off, but tourists are allowed down the side aisles from the back all the way up to a place behind the altar area. We were permitted to find a seat in the sanctuary and sit quietly. The atmosphere was one of hushed reverence. We had the opportunity to rest, relax quietly and take some photographs.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame interior

Notre Dame interior
Notre Dame from the south- photo {PD} via Wikimedia Commons

From Notre Dame, we walked over to the magnificent Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel). The walk would have been shorter if either of us were more skilled at map reading.  Actually, I can read a map, but I need someone (or a compass) to tell me which direction I’m headed. Oh, how we missed Mark whenever we were trying to figure out which way to go!

Before long, we found Sainte-Chapelle, got in the line, and waited.  After a while, a worker came outside and told us we would probably not be allowed in and we should give up and come back another day. The woman ahead of us in line was host to her elderly parents who were visiting from Texas. Her mother was obviously ill and stood in line with some difficulty. The daughter made such a fuss it gave us the courage to stay in line and take a chance, too, and it turned out that we all made it inside with plenty of time to spare before closing.

Upon admittance, you ascend a winding, narrow staircase and at the top, walk out into the large open area. Stained glass is everywhere you look, and Paige was struck by the beauty of the Chapel. She was disappointed that she didn't get any great photos of the structure and the stained glass. Because of the threat of rain, she had left her good cameras behind at the hotel.

Interior La Sainte-Chapelle

La Sainte-Chapelle
La Sainte-Chapelle. Wooden chairs for seating were set up around the entire perimeter.

La Sainte-Chapelle was built to house the Passion Relics collection of King Louis IX. It was completed in 1248, damaged during the French Revolution, and then restored in the 19th century. It's located in the middle of Paris. Paige enjoyed La Sainte-Chapelle more than anything else in France. She wanted to return with her good cameras, but you'll hear why that dream didn't work out in another post.

In the next post we hunt and hunt for transportation, then take an unexpected walk along the Seine.

At the end of August, there'll be another drawing. The winner receives a $25 Gift Card to Barnes and Noble. To enter your name for the free drawing, simply click on the join this site gadget at the top right part of the blog and become a member/follower. Current members are automatically entered. For a second chance at winning,  members may simply leave a comment on the blog during the month of August. Be sure to check in at the end of the month to see if you are the winner--I'll need your address to send you the gift card.


Robin J. Steinweg said...

i see why La Sainte-Chapelle was Paige's favorite. It's my favorite of this blog visit, too. I'd never heard of it before.

Lori said...

You would have loved it. It's beautiful and such a peaceful, reverent atmosphere inside.

I bet the acoustics are awesome. It's a venue for many concerts.

Joanie said...

It's absolutely beautiful!