Photographer's Note

Ile de la Cite, the biggest of the two islands in the middle of the River Seine in Paris, is where the city of Paris originated. It was first inhabited 2,000 years ago by Celtic tribes, one of which, the Parisii gave its name to the city. At the other end of the island to the Cathedral of Notre Dame is Sainte Chapelle, referred to in the Eyewitness Guide to Paris as “a jewel of Gothic architecture”. It was built in 1248 by Louis IX to house what is purported to be Christ’s Crown of Thorns, and is most noted for the magnificence of its stained glass windows. There are two floors in the church; the upper chapel, which was used by the king and the royal family, and the lower chapel, which was used by servants and other commoners.

This shot is in the lower chapel, where the windows are smaller, but just as beautiful. The day was dull, but I can well imagine the sight on a sunny day. An alternative is in the WS. My next post will be in the upper chapel.

It is not easy to photograph the exterior of Sainte Chapelle as it is wholly surrounded by the Palais de Justice, the huge block of buildings used as law courts which takes up the whole width of the Ile de la Cite at the western end. As you can see in the other WS, it does tower over the top of the Palais de Justice buildings. It is also not easy to access the church. We could see the church and knew we were in the right vicinity, and a small sign pointed up a narrow, cobbled passageway where there was a queue. It was like going through airport security as all our belongings had to go through X-ray and we had to walk through metal detectors. A necessary precaution in these days of terror threats, but we thought we were going into the law courts by mistake. Anyway we were directed through another doorway and we came out into a small courtyard around Sainte Chapelle.

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Additional Photos by Kath Featherstone (feather) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7646 W: 399 N: 14391] (51130)
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