Whatever your faith, churches are really rather lovely to wander round and are a popular thing to do. The two best churches in Paris are Saint-Chapelle, with its awesome (in the true meaning of the word) stain-glass windows, and Sacre-Coeur, standing on a hill and only second in height to the Eiffel Tower, like the gleaming white ‘sacred heart’ it is intended to be. These beautiful churches are well worth making time to see.
The Saint-Chapelle is hidden as it is wrapped within the Palais de Justice. It’s Royal, Medieval and Gothic, spot the cue near to the main courtyard, you really wouldn’t want to miss this!
Stepping into the Lower Chapel, I was struck by the still incredibly vibrant colours. If it wasn’t for the mass of tourists with their state of the art cameras, it would feel, at first glance, as if little time had passed since it was built in 1248. The focus of the room was entirely towards the statue of Louis (once King, now Saint).
This is the Lower Chapel where the servants and commoners worshiped. It must have been pretty mind-blowing for them.
But, it is up the narrow stone staircase into the Upper Chapel where King Louis himself worshiped that we are here to see. It is considered a masterpiece, and considering I felt transported to another place or realm, I’ll go along with that.
It’s magical. It blew me away. Those 15 magnificent windows were only thinly separated and were 15 metres high. The space was flooded with an ethereal light.
The panels tell their religious stories in a kaleidoscope of colour.
The Rose Window is best seen at sunset, but here in the morning it still looks magnificent beneath the star-studded vaulted roof.
It was at it’s most magical for us when a blaze of light hit the window of Christ’s Passion.
Sacre-Coeur is a considerably younger and wasn’t completed until 1914. Therefore, it stands proud on a hill, gleaming white in the sun. This image rather belies the chaos that occurs on the steps beneath, with a sea of tourists and all that brings.
Just stay together and keep looking up. There’s an impressive statue of Christ looking down, not sure what he’d make of it all.
Inside is all white stone walls and colourful mosaics. It’s a lovely space and we all like to see a nun. But no photos are allowed inside, out of respect to those praying. It would be nice if they stopped people peeing on the steps outside too, just out of respect for respects sake.
We climbed the 300 steps up to the view. The domes were beautiful and you could see the Eiffel Tower *waves*.
I love a view. I’d like it more in a harness. Others around me coo and snap happily with their cameras.
A view of the Square Willette, a series of descending terraces with lawns and shrubs. All very nice.
OK you may be picking up on a bit of a tone. The truth is, as much as my outer consciousness loves a view, my subconscious hates the height it requires. I feel tingles (and not good ones) up and down my body. This part ‘pushed me over the edge’ (thankfully not literally) and my behind landed very definitely on the next available stone seat.
I am very fortunate, in many ways, but especially because my children make me laugh. Like belly laugh. And they know when I need a diverting chuckle-up. Now would be good.
OK, back to the view, which is really very pleasant. I walk unsteadily back towards the stairs.
Yes, I know it’s lovely, but surely it’s time for a coffee?
One last snap of the bell tower, apparently it contains one of the heaviest bells in the world. Least that’s what I think my husband said. I was about 100 steps down by then.
So, the two best churches in Paris: one little perfectly formed chapel, one gleaming and impressive church. Two very different experiences and I’m very glad I did both. Especially now I’m back on the ground.