vivaldi in sainte chapelle

Probably my favorite church I've visited is La Sainte Chapelle (The Holy Chapel) in Paris, the royal medieval gothic "chapel" of St. Louis, King Louis IX of France. It was built (between 1239 and 1248) to house his collection of relics, which famously included Christ's crown of thorns!

It is rather small in comparison to gothic cathedrals, but is incredibly grand and arresting. The size is big enough to make you feel small, but small enough to have a special intimacy, and so you can really see the details. I always think walking into St. Chapelle is like walking into a medieval illuminated manuscript. The colors are so vidid and cover every inch (I can never capture them in my photos (especially the bright blue ceiling). It also houses "one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th-century stained glass anywhere in the world." One of St. Louis' political advisors (and friends?) was none other than St. Thomas Aquinas, during the time when Aquinas was teaching at the University of Paris, so we like to assume that St. Thomas has been to the King's Chapel a time or two.

It is located inside what is now Paris's government complex, and it is no longer an operating parish, but a museum. While walking around Paris we saw a poster advertising a concert inside St. Chapelle, which featured Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Quartre Saisons). A few of our friends had never been there, so we decided to put our admission fee to better use, and go to the concert.

(The gang hanging out at a cafe across the street before the performance.)

The chapel itself is located above the ground-floor, so usually when you visit you enter downstairs and climb the tiny winding staircases up to the chapel (which is pretty great), but for the concert we got to enter through the chapel's enormous doors for the first time!

The concert was wonderful. It was very intimate with only (I'm terrible with numbers) a couple hundred people? The head violinist was a character, jumping around the stage and acting just how you might imagine a mad musician wearing tails would act. They also played pieces by Pachelbel and Vitali. It was such a great experience. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...