Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sainte Chapelle

Ever since I took my first architecture course I've wanted to go to Sainte Chapelle. Just from photos, it looks so wondrous that I knew that if I ever ended up in Paris-this was a definite, I-would-cry-if-I-did-not-see to do. It's hard to photograph but I was not disappointed-it's as beautiful as I'd hoped even filled full with tourists. Sainte Chapelle was built as a royal chapel (i.e. connected to the palace) for the storing of precious relics bought by Louis IX. The relics (like the crown of thorns) cost less than the chapel and it is Louis IX who became Saint Louis. The chapel is a brilliant 13th century example of High Gothic which sought to replace as much stone with glass as feasible. It survived the French Revolution almost by chance when it became an administrative office though not much of the original furnishings survive.

Nowadays it's a bit engulfed by the Palace of Justice making long shots of the exterior all but fantasy.

the spire is actually a 19th century construction designed by the man who restored the interior.

its entrance is a bit austere seeming and this is all the medieval peasants would have been able to see while going to the market that flourished nearby

nyeh nyeh goes this gargoyle

the entrance to the lower chapel
I actually love the lower chapel despite its darkness. I love the thought that this entirely functional foundation is still as beautiful as possible.

interior flying buttressing distributing weight

set into the walls are roundels with saints as well as statues-and all around the royal sigils
is it possible to view the upper chapel without being overwhelmed by just how high and beautiful that glass is? (I hope not)
it's so vibrant! (there're 1130 figures in there)

it's so tall!

how grand does the reliquary look?
once you can't bear to tilt your head anymore, you can start taking in the details at people level

like the carved stonework, more delicate scenes and a playful fake curtain

something about fake curtains...

and how sacred it looks underneath the reliquary
you look at what's under your feet

step outside onto the upper porch for a breather
admire the lovely carving

check out the 15th century rose window

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