Vivaldi and La Sainte-Chapelle: A Transcendental Travel Experience

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is  music.” ~ Aldous Huxley

Music has always held a special place in my heart, filling me with emotion and triggering memories like nothing else can do.  Perhaps that is why one of my favorite experiences from our trip to Paris was attending a chamber music concert of the Eiffel Orchestra at  La Sainte-Chapelle.  The concert gave me the privilege of sitting in the stunning beauty of La Sainte-Chapelle’s surroundings, soaking in the incredible detail of her famed stained-glass windows while letting the music fill my soul (and the sanctuary) with pieces of Vivaldi, Bach and other classics heard innumerable times, but never sounding quite as lovely as they did in that setting.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”  ~ Plato

Eiffel Orchestra concert at Sainte-Chapelle, July 2011

I invite you to listen to an excerpt of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” in the YouTube video below while viewing the gallery slideshow of photos I took before the evening’s performance began.  The La Sainte-Chapelle concert excerpt is from “alisabeaut” on YouTube.  The featured violinist, Karen Brunon, was one of the violin soloists playing with the Eiffel Orchestra the evening we saw them perform, as well:

La Sainte-Chapelle was Louis IX’s “Holy Chapel” constructed in the 1200’s.  The structure consists of a Lower Chapel and Upper Chapel.  We did not have a chance to tour the Lower Chapel during our visit.  Of the 15 stained glass windows in the Upper Chapel, where the concert took place, two-thirds are original to the structure.  The windows portray over 1,100 figures from the Bible.  During World War II, the extensive stained glass windows were all removed from the building in anticipation of the German invasion of Paris, and then reinstalled upon the conclusion of the war.

A lovely summer evening in Paris, as the sun filtered through magnificent works of art, and timeless music was performed . . . the experience was wonderfully overwhelming, and I could feel every one of my senses trying to absorb as much as possible to remember that hour of perfection for years to come.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  ~ Berthold Auerbach

You can view the photos as a group or click on any of them individually to view as a slideshow.


Travel Tips:

  • If you have the opportunity to attend a concert, try to purchase tickets for a performance time when there is still sunlight, to fully enjoy the stained glass details.
  • Arrive early (recommend 30 minutes+), even if you have pre-purchased tickets, as the line moves slowly.
  • CD’s of the group performing that evening may be sold after the concert (the Eiffel Orchestra’s CD included most of the pieces they played during the performance we attended), so allow time for purchase and autographs by the artists, if you are interested.

Ciao! ~ Kat

References for historical facts noted above and ticket link for La Sainte-Chapelle concerts:

30 responses to “Vivaldi and La Sainte-Chapelle: A Transcendental Travel Experience”

    • Definitely try to catch a concert when you return — truly magical! I hope to return some day to explore other aspects of the chapel we did not see by virtue of attending the concert. ~ Kat


  1. Being inside such a magnificent work Art, hearing these talented performers feels like heaven and its music is so close and reachable. Beautiful. Wishing you and your family all the joys, love and peace of the holidays.


    • That was the nice thing about the concert – by having pre-purchased tickets there was a defined number admitted for that hour-long concert, which provided unique access. Thanks for commenting, Karen ~ Kat


  2. I agree – an evening concert at La Sainte-Chapelle is an unforgettable experience. i did, years ago, on a pretty cold autumn night, and sitting there, as the lights came down and the outside lights illuminated those walls of stained glass was like being in heaven.


    • You can read my reply to Sid above, ha! Here’s what I meant to say in reply to you but accidentally did to Sid instead: “Oh, TWG, exactly! Wasn’t it magical!?!” ~ Kat 🙂


  3. I like your choice of the word transcendent. I can only imagine that a place like La Sainte Chapelle is where Vivaldi and Bach would want their music played. The building must bring out the beauty of the music, and vice versa. Thanks for sharing, Kat.


      • Oh dear, Sid, this was Wanderlust Gene’s reply! I typed your reply and for some reason it didn’t enter, and then I thought I was on the next comment! sheesh! Sid, your observation about the building bringing out the beauty of the music and vice versa is spot on — the synergistic effect of the two was amazing! ~ Kat


      • Heh. I’m just happy to know I’m not the only one who does that kind of thing.


  4. So beautiful. My husband and I visited La Sainte-Chapelle years ago. It was such a moving experience. Your post makes me want to go back and be moved again…this time with music in my ears!


    • And I hope to return to further explore the Lower Chapel! I was so glad to have happened to come across a little blurb in some travel article about these concerts the week before we traveled to Paris — it was an opportunity I would have hated to miss! ~ Kat


Share your thoughts ~ I may not reply to every comment, but know that your comment is appreciated!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: