May 2012

There are the Big Five, as we Socks like to call the most famous monuments in Paris: The Eiffel Tower (of course!), The Arch of Triumph, The Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, and Sacre Coeur. Most people visit the first four, and if they have time, they take the trek to Sacre Coeur.

But so many don’t even know about La Sainte-Chapelle – The Holy Chapel, which is so sad. She gets all but ignored, poor thing!

It happens to be our favorite church in France. It is small by comparison – not like the towering Gothic cathedrals littering Europe. No, The Holy Chapel is quietly hidden behind the walls of the Justice buildings. You wouldn’t even know she were there save by her steeple jutting into the sky.

La Sainte-Chapelle was built in the mid-thirteenth century at the behest of Louis IX, also known as St. Louis. (New Orleanians know him as the namesake of our cathedral on Jackson Square). Louis IX was pretty cool, in the humble opinion of a pair of wool Traveling Socks. He was a Crusader in the 7th and 8th crusades, and he built his own personal chapel – La Sainte-Chapelle – to house relics, including the Crown of Thorns.

The most notable features of the chapel are the stained-glass windows which stretch almost floor to ceiling. Louis was a huge patron of Gothic architecture and its glorification of God through light and beauty.

Rad guy, huh? Enjoy this little peek into his magnificent chapel, and the most awe-inspiring stained-glass windows, statues, and paintings lining its walls – quintessentially Rayonnant! (Our favorite is the statue of Baby Jesus tenderly stroking His Blessed Mother’s hair.)