Just a few blocks away from the Notre Dame, I stumbled upon a queue while I was looking for a chocolate shop. I never made it to the chocolate shop but I got the chance to visit Sainte-Chapelle when I decided to join the queue.
The Sainte-Chapelle, located within the Palais de Justice complex, was established by King Louis IX of France, who constructed it as a chapel for the royal palace and shelter for many precious relics. These relics included the Crown of Thorns , precious relics of the Passion and a fragment of the True Cross. The construction started in 1946 and was quickly finished, with the chapel consecrated on 1248.
Considered as a symbol of royalty, the chapel was converted to an office during the French Revolution wherein the relics were scattered and interior suffered neglect and damage.
In 19th century, Viollet-le-Duc restored the chapel to its former grandeur, alongside a team of architects and artists, restoring statues and furniture in addition to building a new spire. Sainte-Chapelle has been declared a national historic monument since 1862.
The upper chapel features four bays and a seven section choir. The walls are much taller than those of the lower chapel. The minimum support serve to emphasize the vast stained glass windows, which when flooded with light, exude a vibrant dance of colors.
The windows are in shades of reds and blues, featuring an array of biblical events. The carved ornaments and paintings surrounding the windows add even more beauty to the place. Rose windows were added to the upper chapel in the 15th century.
Statues of the apostles stand on each side of the nave, and was meant to symbolize the columns of the Church.
The lower chapel was erected in honor of Virgin Mary and served as a parish church. The prominent decoration of the lower chapel is the vaulted ceiling adorned with fleurs de lys set on an azure background.
The choir has two black columns which stand in the middle, built to bear the weight of the heavy reliquary found in the upper chapel. Further decorations are the golden fleur de lys similar to the ceiling and the Castilian castles on the columns. The Castilian castles are homage to Saint Louis and his mother, Blanche de Castille.
Museums are not to be missed in Paris. Hundreds of museums are located in different parts of the city, each providing options for all kinds of art lovers. Visiting museums is an excellent way to delve into the history and culture of the city.
One of the great museums in Paris is Musée d’Orsay, a place of interest especially for those who prefer post impressionist and impressionist works.
Musée d’Orsay was formerly a railroad station, Gare d’Orsay before it was converted into a spacious site dedicated to art.
The construction of the station and hotel was finished prior to the opening of World Fair in 1900. Due to its close proximity to the Louvre and the Palais de la Légion d’honneur, Gare d’ Orsay was designed to perfectly integrate into its elegant neighboring surroundings. For almost four decades, the Gare d’Orsay was the head of the southwestern French railroad network.
There have been previous plans to demolish the station and replace it with another hotel. However, such plans were later ruled out. The plan to convert the station to a new museum was announced in the early 70s, with the support of Georges Pompidou, the Direction des Musées de France. It was to be the museum that would house arts from the 19th century to avoid overcrowding the Louvre, Jeu de Paume and the Georges Pompidou Centre.
It took almost six months to transfer collections of paintings, sculptures, furniture, architectural displays and photographs in the museum. The diverse collection showcases 19th century art containing impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces as well as works influenced by realism and art nouveau.
On the ground floor, galleries are distributed on either side of the central nave, which is overlooked by the terraces of the second level. The second level showcases additional exhibition galleries.
I never made it to the chocolate shop I was looking for but hey, I managed to visit these two stunning places so all is well ( but still, my chocolates 🙁 ).