“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
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.
Sainte-Chapelle’s gothic exterior.
A glimpse of her beauty.
Awe-inspiring concert venue.
The view looking up from my seat.
The 15th century rose window.
An hour to sit and absorb this beauty.
One of the twelve apostles statues.
Endless stained glass.
Over 1,100 Biblical figures.
Magical light and music.
Eiffel Orchestra performers.
Exiting the Palais de Justice gates.
- 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: