Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a chapel, not a cathedral or even a full church. It’s not that big, but it is striking. The first floor – which was where the servants had their services – is lovely, but nothing to write home about.

I love the colors and patterns – that deep, rich blue and the brick red. There’s also an emerald green that gets used that’s not in that particular photo.

The detail is amazing, and this is how they decorated for the servants! Sainte Chapelle is beautiful.

But the upper floor is where your breath gets taken away. I love the gasps and wows that you hear from people entering the chapel for the first time. There are 15 HUGE stained glass windows (that’s one of them, above), all dating from the 13th century. (The wikipedia page gives a brief overview of its history.) The richness and color and light are striking and sublime.

It is one of the places where the beauty of the building might be enough to make me religious.

A friend once told me that he had a head cold when he was visiting Paris. He went into Sainte Chapelle for the first time, and sat down to rest and relish the beauty of the place. After about 20 minutes, his head cold was gone. It’s neither a traditional miracle nor a big one, but I’ll take it.

My recommendation always and forever is, if you’re visiting Paris, make sure to stop by Sainte Chapelle. It is worth it.

Stockholm is also pretty

Stockholm was the last place we visited on our Scandinavian journey. It was a good almost-three-week trip. It spanned the summer solstice, so there was plenty of sunlight. Just look at the color of the sky in these photos – it’s amazing.

a city building
There’s a lot of water in Stockholm, as you’d imagine. Which means bridges everywhere.


b government and church
This is, I think, the parliament building. The steeple on the church in the background is great – an open steel structure. I like that as a way to make the top of a building interesting. I’m keeping it in mind for the palace I will someday build.


c german church
This is where the minister stands to deliver the sermon in the German church. It’s not too shabby. (Stockholm was a big trading town back in the day – and each culture had its own church – there’s at least a German Church and a Finnish Church in addition to the Stockholm Cathedral.)


d gamla stan street
When you build on an island with no cars, you build narrow streets and tall buildings. (This is on Gamla Stan, which is the original island of Stockholm. It’s mostly given over to tourists now.)


e gamla stan street
This is an actual, named street on Gamla Stan.


f a boy and his horse
A random statue of a boy and his horse. My palace is also going to have a large garden with lots of random statues.


g dragon slaying
Dragon slaying!


h dragon slaying
More dragon slaying! It’s the same statue, just different size and colors (obviously). This one is in the Stockholm Medieval Museum – which is both free and super-fascinating.


i smallest statue
The smallest statue in Stockholm. Those are normal sized coins. Someone knits hats for it; we were told that it changes about once a week. It’s in the park next to the Finnish church.


j artemis or athena
I am 90% sure this is a statue of Artemis. But maybe it’s Athena? There’s a small two-room museum off the Royal Palace full of ancient Roman sculpture. (My ancient-loving heart was warmed.)


k frederick
One of the King Friderics of Sweden. Sweden had more money than Denmark, and thus Stockholm in general is fancier than Copenhagen was. I think this is the Frederick that turned Sweden into that fancier place, with building initiatives and the like.


l fire
This is the little symbol over the door that you put up once you paid your dues to the firemen. They’d only put out fires at the houses of the people with the symbol. You’d be surprised at how few there were.


m doors
My royal palace is totally going to have a door that looks like this.


n town hall
Stockholm City Hall. This is where they give out the Nobel prizes every year.


o statue
An adorable little lion statue outside City Hall. It could be a nice addition to my palace gardens.


p park
Woo-hoo! This is the oldest park in Stockholm, and, in fact, a number of workers brought their lunches here to escape the dreary offices they work in. The buildings across the canal are hotels and department stores. Pretty fancy for a department store. Maybe I should build one of those instead of a palace….