Sainte-Chapelle – Paris Highlights

Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle

We had been advised to visit Sainte-Chapelle but had not researched what to expect. When we arrived there was a short queue of about half an hour’s worth of waiting. The queue consisted mainly of Europeans with a heavy leaning towards Italian being the main language.

Queue waiting for Sainte-Chapelle
Queue waiting for Sainte-Chapelle

The chapel is on two floors. The ground floor, where you enter, is beautiful and alone worth the time to visit. There is an obligatory shop embedded on the left hand side. Odd but not unexpected in a popular tourist destination.

We joined the visitors milling around quietly. Lots of photos, lots of hushed whispers. After a reasonable amount of time, Megan and I decided it was time to move on. At this moment, I had presumed we had seen the chapel proper and that the upper floor would be more or less the same.

Visitors quietly move around the lower chapel
Visitors quietly move around the lower chapel
Detail of a column in the lower chapel
Detail of a column in the lower chapel
Iconography on the walls of the lower chapel
Iconography on the walls of the lower chapel
Statue at the end of the lower chapel
Statue at the end of the lower chapel
Lower chapel of Sainte-Chapelle
Lower chapel of Sainte-Chapelle
Lower chapel of Sainte-Chapelle
Lower chapel of Sainte-Chapelle

The upper floor is a treat. The small spiral stone stairs are tucked away in a corner. They take you from the lower floor and up out into the main chapel. Immediately you are surrounded on three sides by huge towering expanses of stained glass. It took a moment to adjust.

I took my photos, most of which turned out badly, and some footage. The resulting short film of Sainte-Chapelle comes closest to recreating the visit.

There are photos on the Internet that try to capture the awe. These photos feel overworked and artificial compared to what we saw. There is something reassuring in that seeing Sainte-Chapelle in person, you gain an experience that is impossible to replicate remotely.

What photos I took that did survive the difficult lighting are reasonable. A selection are below.

Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Detail of stained glass
Detail of stained glass
Detail of stained glass
Detail of stained glass
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle
Upper floor of Sainte-Chapelle

Having experienced the sensory overload of Sainte-Chapelle’s two floors, it would forgivable to overlook the outside. Sainte-Chapelle is a religious building enclosed within a courtyard. Surrounded on all sides by administrative buildings the chapel is difficult to photograph in isolation or at any distance. The views looking up however exude power and prestige.

Sainte-Chapelle imposing exterior
Sainte-Chapelle’s imposing exterior
Sainte-Chapelle imposing exterior
Sainte-Chapelle’s imposing exterior

Jet d’eau

Geneva's jet d'eau and a ferry

Each time we visit friends in Geneva, we can not fail but catch sight of the jet d’eau (jet of water). The fountain dominates the Geneva shore of the lake. We viewed it from the United Nations open day celebrations and again as we walked along the waterfront.

I took my usual set of photos and some footage. This afternoon I turned the footage of the jet d’eau into a short film.

As we walked along the shore, we discussed the lake’s name. Lake Geneva is the local name and one that would raise an eyebrow elsewhere. After all, Geneva is but one settlement on the edge of the lake. A lake that touches multiple countries. Google’s map refers to the body of water as Lac Léman and OpenStreetMap wisely avoids applying any name.

Wikipedia provides the following insight into the name:

The first recorded name of the lake is Lacus Lemannus, dated from Roman times; Lemannus comes from Ancient greek LimanosLimènos Limne Λιμένος Λίμνη meaning port’s lake; it became Lacus Lausonius, although this name was also used for a town or district on the lake, Lacus Losanetes and then the Lac de Lausanne in the Middle Ages. Following the rise of Geneva it became Lac de Genève (translated into English as Lake Geneva). In the 18th century, Lac Léman was revived in French and is the customary name in that language. In contemporary English, the name Lake Geneva is predominant.

wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Geneva

Geneva's jet d'eau
Geneva’s jet d’eau

Fête des lumières

Cathedral of lights along rue de Président Édouard Heriot

Fête des lumières (festival of lights) is Lyon’s largest annual festival. During the four days of festivities the centre of the city swells with visitors enjoying the light shows and art installations.

This was our first Fête des lumières and we made the most of our easy access into the city centre. We were able to visit different sections of the city each night and I did my best to film a little of what we saw. A series of short films are embedded below and available on YouTube.

My point-and-shoot Canon camera does not excel with night photographs. During the evenings I saw many large semi-professional cameras being lugged around; hopefully those doing the lugging were able to better capture the magic of the lights.

A selection of my photographs from the festival appear below. They give some flavour of the event.

Christmas lights along Cours Franklin Roosevelt, Lyon
Christmas lights along Cours Franklin Roosevelt, Lyon
Illuminated statue at Place du Maréchal Lyautey
Illuminated statue at Place du Maréchal Lyautey
Crowds gather to watch a projection on Théâtre des Célestins
Crowds gather to watch a projection on Théâtre des Célestins
Installation in Parc Hôtel de Ville
Installation in Parc Hôtel de Ville
Orbs of shadows in jardin de la Grande Côte
Orbs of shadows in jardin de la Grande Côte
Lamps arranged near montée de la Grande Côte
Lamps arranged near montée de la Grande Côte
Light installation on rue de Brest
Light installation on rue de Brest
Crowds gather in Place Bellecour
Crowds gather in Place Bellecour
Lyon's ferris wheel in Place Bellecour
Lyon’s ferris wheel in Place Bellecour
Lights line rue Victor-Hugo
Lights line rue Victor-Hugo
Cathedral of lights along rue de Président Édouard Heriot
Cathedral of lights along rue de Président Édouard Heriot

Services Parade

Approaching the route of the parade

We watched the parade near Foch in Lyon yesterday evening. The parade is part of la Fête Nationale celebrations.

I am not a big fan of military parades or standing idly waiting for people to march slowly past me. It does not stir my heart nor motivate me to endeavour to greater things. However, it is fun to watch the crowd’s reactions, mingle among the people lining the street, and join in the general spirit of wondering what is happening next and how long the next delay will be for.

This event was not held for my benefit or the benefit of the general public. The parade began with presentations of medals and awards. It was for the military and civilian services, and focused on a temporary grandstand located in the square near the Foch metro station.

One notable inclusion, that I had not expected, was to see some of the Foreign Legion; their white hats marked them out.

French Foreign Legion wearing the famous white hat
French Foreign Legion wearing the famous white hat

I took photos and have put together a film. The film is long and watching it in its entirety will hopefully make you appreciate what it was like to be there.

A High Definition edition of the Lyon la Fête Nationale parade is available on YouTube.

Approaching the route of the parade
Approaching the route of the parade
Crowds lining the route of the parade
Crowds lining the route of the parade
French flags fluttering overhead
French flags fluttering overhead
Two senior fire fighters with Rhône banner
Two senior fire fighters with Rhône banner
Fire fighters wear shiny helmets in Lyon
Fire fighters wear shiny helmets in Lyon
Fire trucks and crew waiting for their turn
Fire trucks and crew waiting for their turn
Police bikes and riders waiting
Police bikes and riders waiting
Police bikes and riders lined up waiting
Police bikes and riders lined up waiting
Police bike riders
Police bike riders
Soldiers waiting with bayonets fixed
Soldiers waiting with bayonets fixed
Soldiers waiting with weapons in hand
Soldiers waiting with weapons in hand
French Foreign Legion marching through
French Foreign Legion marching through
Faces of members of the French Foreign Legion
Faces of members of the French Foreign Legion

Evening Stroll

We were not the only ones photographing the wild flowers.

I have been neck deep working with pkgbuild and productbuild for DssW. These last weeks have been busy and my work is now increasingly demanding every moment available.

After a long day, I needed to get out of the apartment last night; we opted to walk to the park.

It was first time since moving that we have found the time to walk in the evening.

A section of the Parc de la Tête d’Or has been set aside for wild flowers. This area resembles a meadow and attracts numerous pollinating bees and other insects to the park.

A field of poppies and other wild flowers in Lyons park.
A field of poppies and other wild flowers in Lyons park.
A cluster of poppy flowers in Lyon's main park.
A cluster of poppy flowers in Lyon’s main park.
We were not the only ones photographing the wild flowers.
We were not the only ones photographing the wild flowers.

We run in the mornings and there are always others around exercising in the park. What we experience in the morning is quiet compared to the evening.

During the evening the number of people running is incredible. The running route around the park is busy with all categories of runners making their way around. The main entrance to the park makes for a regular stretching and catching of breath point for many.

Runners stretching or catching their breath by the main gate.
Runners stretching or catching their breath by the main gate.

We stopped and watched the ducks in the main lake.

A mother duck and duckling by the edge of the lake.
A mother duck and duckling by the edge of the lake.

I have no idea what this plant is called but it reminds me of candy floss. The French call candy floss, la barbe à papa – which translates to father’s beard in English.

Candy floss like blooms.
Candy floss like blooms.
Close up of the candy floss like bloom.
Close up of the candy floss like bloom.

I am going to enjoy visiting the Parc de la Tête d’Or as the seasons pass.

No longer frozen solid, a tree branch is reflected in the water.
No longer frozen solid, a tree branch is reflected in the water.