Sainte Chapelle

I feel strangely like I live here. This feeling stems partly of course from the fact that I’m staying in an apartment rather than a hotel.

But add to that last night’s dinner with Laura’s friend Justine, and couple that with Laura being sick and it all adds up to a feeling of belongingness that leads me to believe that I live here. To which I should add, were it not for the language barrier, I could really enjoy living here. Paris is rather expensive, but in the end probably only a little more so than New York. Oh that and the little fact that the French wouldn’t let me live here without tripping through some serious bureaucratic red tape. But were the world what it ought to be, I would move to Paris in a flash. Who knows maybe someday I will.

St. Chapelle, Paris, FranceYesterday we went to see Sainte Chapelle, cathedral from the 1240s, built by a brilliant architect that history apparently did not recorded.

But it’s kind of great that know one knows who designed the building because it adds an air of anonymous grandeur to it. One obvious thing about the chapel’s design, whoever did it, is it’s intended to inspire fear and awe. Just daring to look upward at the ceiling induces a dizzying sense of vertigo.

The chapel was originally built to house what was supposedly the crown of thorns from Christ’s crucifixion along with other relics that Louis the IX had purchased from the holy lands. No word on what became of those, though you have to wonder about a King who believed a crown of thorns would last 1200 years. Whatever the history of the place, Sainte Chapelle today is full of spellbinding stained glass, amazing and beautiful to watch the sun stream through.

St. Chapelle, Paris, FranceThe remarkable thing about it is that all that stained glass tells the entire story of the Bible in roughly one-foot square panels. It was interesting to see after the modern, conceptual art stuff at the Pompidou, since, as Laura pointed out, Sainte Chapelle felt quite conceptual. In a sense the entire Bible (i.e. all history from this perspective) is unfolding simultaneously, quite a so-called post-modern idea if you think about. And yet it was conceived and executed over 800 years ago. Kind of kicks a lot pretentious modern art in its collective ass.


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