Paris – St. Chapelle

On Friday we traveled from Avignon to Paris by train – after a bit of train-ticket-bouncing to ensure that the train we booked was actually going to run.  The journey north took us past tidy vineyards, orderly orchards and well-groomed countryside. The French do like to ensure that nature is managed.

The sleek Avignon train station.

I’m sure it’s another example of my Anglophile biases, but I particularly dislike the French penchant for torturing trees.

And while I’m griping about my Francophilic dislikes, let’s add smoking to the list.  There are now laws in place prohibiting smoking in restaurants. However, since most everyone either (a) eats outside or (b) the eateries keep their doors/windows wide open to simulate the al fresco experience, one is forced to inhale tobacco smoke with nearly every meal. For a country that prides itself on its palate, I confess myself bemused.

Whew. With that off my chest…we stayed in a lovely two story walkup flat just 10 minutes walk from the Louvre.

After unloading our gear and walking round the block to make sure we could find the flat again, we made our way south to stroll along the Seine.

Our destination was the the quaint (and very wealthy) island of Ile de Cite, home to two of Paris’ medieval architectural masterpieces: St. Chapelle (chapel) and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

St. Chapelle is a glorious extravaganza of lacy stone carvery, leering gargoyles and stained glass artistry – and for this visit, all the scaffolding was blessedly gone.

Founded in 1248, St. Chapelle began as the chapel to the oldest palace of the French kings.

The 15 stained glass windows are storytellers, recounting the books of the Catholic bible from Genesis to the resurrection in 1113 scenes.

These stories are from the books of Judith and Job.
The lozenge-shaped windows are from the book of Esther.
The rose window illustrates the apocalypse of St.John.

Back in the ‘hood, we had fantastic fish and chips at Johanna’s Fish and Chips, just a few steps from our door.

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