Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Belltower: Sainte-Chapelle the ultimate stained glass extravaganza

By
From page A4 | November 18, 2013 | Leave Comment

The first time I visited Sainte-Chapelle it was raining and hard to find. My kids and I wandered around before we found it sort of hidden behind a police station. It was interesting. The second time I went there, this time, I talked my wife into coming along.

Again, it was interesting, but then I noticed a narrow, circular stone passageway and decided I wanted to see where it went. Wow! When I got to the top of the stairs, the full glowing spectacle of the church’s stained glass rayonnant windows was revealed.

French craftsmen have been working for the past 40 years on restoring the stained glass windows and plan to complete that in time for the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Louis, the French king who ordered the construction of Sainte-Chapelle.

The gothic church on the Île de la Cité was begun in 1239 and christened April 26, 1248. That means it was dedicated 765 years ago.

Besides restoring the stained glass, technicians are also molding a new glass wall on the outside of each stained glass panel between the stone tracery. Glass covers the inside to reduce the effect of the breath of the 700,000 people who visit it each year.

This is not the first restoration. It was restored in 1855 after the French Revolution damaged it. The relics it was originally built to house — the Crown of Thorns and 30 other relics — were dispersed and their reliquaries melted down. Two-thirds of the stained glass windows were left original. In 1803, Wikipedia notes, it was turned into an archival repository and 2 meters of stained glass was removed to let in more light. The removed glass was lost or sold.

While I was photographing the stained glass and then the floor designs, my wife was watching a guy who looked like a pickpocket. With everybody staring up at the ceiling Sainte-Chapelle is a pretty good place for pickpockets. I wasn’t too worried, though, since I don’t carry a wallet in Europe and my small camera case can’t be cut with a knife. The only thing it holds besides my camera is our passports in a zipped enclosure that is always next to my body.

There are 8,000 feet of glass covered surface, the historic monument’s architect in chief, Christophe Bottineau, told Wall Street Journal writer Gabrielle Parussini, who interviewed him in Paris. The rose windows were added in the 15th century.

The police station next to the chapel is where they checked our bags before allowing us entrance. Until I checked Wikipedia I did not know that the police station was likely connected to the conciergerie, an administrative complex that includes Paris’ oldest prison where Marie Antoinette and 2,700 others were held during the Revolution before taken out to be guillotined.

The current restoration work is really restoration of the 1855 restoration by Viollet-le-Duc, who endeavored to make it appear as it did in the 13th century. The current 40-year restoration project involved removing 15 50-foot-high stained glass windows and breaking them down into 1,113 small panels that were then cleaned with the help of laser light, according to Parussini.

When we visited Sainte-Chapelle, one whole side was boarded off with scaffolding. St. Louis’ birth date is April 25, 1214. So, next spring visitors should be able to see both sides of the windows, since that is the target date for completion of the restoration project.

It’s a short walk to the Île de la Cité Metro Station, a beautiful Art Nouveau station entrance. The metro will take you anywhere, even to Versailles or Charles de Gaulle Airport. Our hotel was only two blocks from Gare St. Lazare. The upper level is the station for the national train service, with a glass canopy that looks almost like it did when Claude Monet painted it. We caught a train here for Giverny to visit Monet’s garden.

Michael Raffety is editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears biweekly.

Michael Raffety

Last Login | Wed Apr 23 09:10:31 2014
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

 
More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

 
Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3

 
.

Opinion

My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 9 Comments

 
Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

.

Letters

‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 8 Comments

 
Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Misquote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

 
Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 5 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8