Music in Paris

In 1248, nearly 800 years ago, Louis IX of France finished the construction of La Sainte Chapelle. Amazingly, it took just 7 years to build, compared to almost 200 years of building for Notre Dame. 

La Sainte Chapelle is most well-known for its truly amazing stained glass windows. On the upper floor of the chapel, the columns between the windows are merely there to support the intricate stained glass.

This evening (Monday), after our first full day in Paris, we went to a classical music concert in the chapel. It was an experience that played tricks with my mind.

On the one hand, I marveled at the creativity of humankind, of the beauty that is expressed through architecture, glass, stone, and paint. The music that soared upwards to the arches and filled every nook and cranny of the space was equally beautiful. Creative expression was a reminder, to me, of one way that humans are created "in the image of God."

I gazed up to the blue ceiling decorated with golden stars as the string quartet played Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi, and Pachelbel, and wondered, on the other hand, how we humans, capable of such amazing expressions of the deepest longings of the soul, can also inflict terrible pain and destruction upon other humans. The dichotomy baffles my mind.

I also wondered at the justice of spending so very much wealth on the construction of such a chapel designed not only to hold the supposed relic of Christ's crown of thorns, but also to consolidate political and religious power, at a time when the gap between the few very rich and the many very poor was immense. 

In some ways, when I look at today's world, I see that the rich still take advantage of the poor, and wonder that so little has changed.

But most of my time was spent in wonder and amazement that I, an ordinary woman of the 21st century, could sit in this jewel box of a chapel constructed by an absolute monarch of the 13th century and listen to music composed between those centuries. It was a beautiful gift.


  1. Everything you write here resonates with me, and/but I know how all the troubling paradoxes fall away in that exquisite space, especially if you're listening to glorious chamber music. . . . Thanks for sharing these rich photographs.

  2. The churches in Paris were absolutely breath taking and the acoustics were fabulous.
    I do envy you sitting there listening to the chamber music...thank you for sharing these details with us as I for one am going to live vicariously through your travel posts !
    Merci beaucoup Lorrie

  3. This is gorgeous and to sit and drink it all in while listening to chamber music will create a lasting memory for you.

  4. Very very interesting and your photos are lovely. To think there are buildings in France that are older than our country.


  5. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I have those same exact thoughts almost constantly. I just don't understand why man continues to hurt others, in the name of what, for what? No one wants their own families to suffer, yet cause suffering to so many others. It just does not make sense. Why would anyone want to live in such turmoil and chaos every single day of their lives? Sadly, I only see it getting worse as the division between people and countries is magnified by ego.

    Paris is amazing! I loved our trip there. The chapel is beautiful and no doubt the music was a moving experience.

    Best wishes, Tammy

  6. Such a beautiful place to visit enhanced by the beautiful music, a wonderful experience.

  7. What a treat for the senses you had! Now THAT is some stained glass ;)
    Thanks for sharing, Lorrie! Enjoy your days..

  8. So glad you are enjoying all that Paris has to offer. La Saint Chapelle is a wonderful experience, and the concert must have been very special.

  9. Breathtakingly Beautiful, Lorrie! I've been all over the world but never been to Paris & now it is no longer on my bucket list, so I thank you for taking me along with you.

  10. Beautiful thoughts in a beautiful chapel. I just finished a class on the European Reformation and concur. Loving your travels!

  11. Very interesting thoughts as you listened to that beautiful music in such a historic and gorgeous place. I so agree with you, how can people hurt each other the way they do, especially those who do it in the form of religious beliefs? But I guess that has not changed through the ages has it?

  12. Love, love, love St. Chappelle so very much. Sitting in that splendor does calm the soul and cause you to think. Good thoughts about our world.

  13. I love this about traveling, too! To sit in an old place and wonder about how many years and how many people have been there, and what their lives were.

  14. Oh gosh that really is such an incredible place! I am sure that you are having a wonderful time!

  15. Anonymous3:08 PM

    Your photos really captured the beauty of this place.


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