Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sainte-Chapelle & Paris Pickpockets

This morning we took the Metro down to start our sightseeing. On the way, Jill noticed some pre-teen little girls acting 'funny' at the gates, trying to sneak into the Metro station. Later they showed up on our platform. Then while entering the train car, I felt someone pushing from behind - not an unknown thing on subways... but there was also someone's hand in my pants pocket searching for my wallet.

I moved forward to get some space, and yelled 'HEY' and that scared them a bit. My wallet was safe and the girls got off the train and watched as we drove away - obvious they had been 'caught' trying to pickpocket me.

Well, that's what we thought. We arrived at our station, and went up to see the cathedral, and I reached in my other pocket for cash... and all the cash was gone! #$%^& those little girls did a good job of making me protect my wallet, but got the cash from the other pocket at exactly the same time. (by the way, the wallet was in a zippered sub-pocket) So we were out some $180 in cash. Not a nice way to start the day.

Be warned! - There are pickpockets in Paris!!!

Now on to the Sainte-Chapelle. This was an almost 'private' chapel for the king Louis IX - it adjoined the palace on an island in the Seine river. Today the palace is the the 'Palace of Justice' and the chapel a tourist attraction. Unlike the Notre Dame where it is still being used as a place of worship with Mass services performed many times each day.

The building was built in only 6 years, from 1242-1248 and it's main purpose was to house the 'relics' the king had purchased from the Emperor in Constantinople, supposedly the true crown of thorns worn by Jesus, as well as parts of the true cross. The paid over three times the cost of building this church, just to have the relics!

Inside the room is full of light! 15 HUGE stained glass windows surround the perimeter - plus a monster-sized Rose Window in the back of the chapel facing West. There are over 1113 distinct scenes depicted in the windows. For folks who couldn't read back then this was a way of teaching the stories from the bible.

When King Louis IX started this chapel the Notre-Dame Cathedral was already started, but it took over 170 years to complete.

Ryan had studied all these stained glass windows as part of his Humanities courses at University.

Here's some photos.

The Sainte-Chapelle

The Lower Chapel Where the Palace 'regular folk' could worship
Looking back from the front of the Upper Chapel to Rose Window facing West

Looking straight up above the Apse

Detail of the interior and one of the 12 disciples

Detail from just one pane of the 1,113 scenes in stained glass
These have survived since 1248 AD!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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