Monday, August 27, 2012

Emma's Hard Day and Paris Day Three: Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie





For Emma's 3rd birthday, Brennan gave her a betta fish which she named Bruce (after the shark in Finding Nemo). There have been multiple times that Brittany thought that Bruce had gone to fishy heaven, but with one tap on the tank he would snap back to life. Seriously, Bruce has had at least nine lives. Sadly, his last fishy life ended yesterday on the last day of summer for us (Brittany went back to work today). Emma called us last night to share her sad news and to ask if she could bury Bruce in our yard. So her awesome mommy put Bruce in a baggie and refrigerated him overnight. They arrived early this morning with Bruce in hand. I watched from my kitchen window as they buried Bruce in my backyard. Although it's a sad occasion for Emma, it was such a touching moment for me to watch my daughter do such a sweet thing for her hurting little girl. It took me back to a night when Brittany was five years old: a cold, rainy night when Rick and I stood with Brittany in the pouring rain as we buried her pet goldfish. It was her first experience with death, as this was for Emma. Such difficult lessons for heartbroken little girls to learn, yet such sweet moments for them as well as they realized the importance of their feelings to those who love them. This afternoon, Emma picked some hydrangeas from my front yard and sweetly placed them atop Bruce's grave. It just about made me cry. Boy oh boy, do I love this little girl.
Ta ta, Bruce.

Okay, let's return to Paris, shall we? After visiting the Palais du Luxembourg and Jardin de Luxembourg, we went to Sainte-Chapelle.  For me, Sainte-Chapelle was my favorite site in Paris. As I stood in its center, I felt the same way I had felt in the Sistine Chapel: breathless as my eyes and heart and soul were moved by the beauty of familiar Bible truths. I literally stood there for a long time simply gazing. 

"Ethereal and magical, Sainte-Chapelle has been hailed as one of the greatest architectural masterpieces of the Western world. In the Middle Ages the devout likened this church to 'a gateway to heaven.' Today no visitor can fail to be transported by the blaze of light created by the 15 magnificent stained-glass windows, separated by the narrowest of columns that soar 50 ft (15 m) to the star-studded, vaulted roof. The windows portray over 1,000 religious scenes in a kaleidoscope of red, gold, green, blue, and mauve. The chapel was built in 1248 by Louis IX to house Christ's purported Crown of Thorns (now housed in the Notre-Dame treasury)... Louis IX was extremely devout, and was canonized in 1297, not long after his death. In 1239, he acquired the Crown of Thorns from the Emperor of Constantinople and, in 1241, a fragment of Christ's cross. He built this chapel as a shrine to house them. Louis paid nearly three times more for the relics than for the construction of Sainte-Chapelle." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Paris pages 88-89.) The stained glass windows portray parts of both the Old and New Testaments. 

Sadly, my photos simply do not do justice to Sainte-Chapelle. Flashes were not permitted and it was very crowded, so I had a difficult time taking photos. I purchased a wonderful book about Sainte-Chapelle so that I may continue to behold the glory of this chapel. If you'd like to see better photos than mine, click here
The Conciergerie is located next to Sainte-Chapelle. "Occupying the north part of the old Capetian palace, the Conciergerie was under the administration of the palace 'concierge,' the keeper of the King's mansion. When the King moved to the Marais (in 1417), the palace remained the seat of royal administration and law; and the Conciergerie became a prison, with the 'concierge' as its chief jailer. Henry IV's assassin, Ravaillac, was imprisoned and tortured here. During the Revolution it housed over 4,000 prisoners, including Marie-Antoinette, who was held in a tiny cell." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Paris page 81.) The Conciergerie was the last stopping ground before prisoners were guillotined. 
This is the room where Marie-Antoinette was held prior to being executed.
Prisoners were permitted to stop at this chapel and pray before being led to the guillotine.
That's it for today. Notre-Dame is on tap for tomorrow. Hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

1 comment:

Christy Lynn said...

I think you got some great pictures; it's always hard to get good ones in low light. We walked by Sainte-Chapelle but didn't go in...you saw lots of different things than we did!