Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I love stained glass - and my favourite place in Paris has an abundance of it.  
is a gothic masterpiece situated on the Ile de la Cite.  Built by Louis IV in the 13th century to house the crown of thorns - I first went there with an Australian medical student back in the eighties.  He was living in Paris and had a list of beautiful destinations to visit - but this one easily topped the list.  It was so gorgeous that I wondered if I might have imagined it - built it up in my mind and over-embellished during the intervening years.  Turns out I hadn't.  When I went back some time later it was, if anything - even more beautiful - because by then I had seen lots of other things with which to compare it.
It still feels like being inside a giant, jewelled box - surrounded by light and space and colour.  I was there a couple of weeks ago - and it took my breath away.
Which place takes your breath away?


  1. Don't get me started on stained glass - I'm quite spoiled as we have so many medieval churches in Norfolk with outstanding glass examples.

    But the place that really takes my breath away... Norwich Cathedral. Same reason as you: the space and the light and the colour.

  2. Which place takes my breath away...
    Well, my opinion is quite relative because I haven't seen all the beatiful places that this world has to show (but I intend to, at least partially!) - so, for now, without doubt, the place that took my breath away is Sistine Chapel, at first sight.

    This jewel of a place, housed in Vatican City, is full of religiousness, sacred atmosphere, enveloping the whole place of a mystic silence.

    The entire place is rich in paintings, wherever your eyes rest you can see different moments: Christ giving the Keys to St. Peter, Scenes of the life of Moses, the Punishment of Korah, the Temptation of Christ, followed by papal portraits above and trompe d'oeil drapery below.

    The result is a combination of lights and colours and shadows absolutely enchanting and breathtaking.

    It was amazing to see how well the place was rebuilt in Ron Howard's film "Angels & Demons" starring Tom Hanks and set in Vatican City.
    The entire cast said how amazing was to be there as if it was the real place.


  3. Dear Sharon. We have a very similar display of stained glass in a pub I know in Arbroath. "The Goat's Head" is a veyr special place. Would you consider paying a visit to undertake a literary luncheon?

  4. Kate, I've never been to Norwich Cathedral - but with the lure of your recommendation - how can I now resist?

    Michela - I haven't seen the Sistine Chapel since I was a little girl but really want to go back and look at it with adult eyes.

    Dr. Pincher - interestingly enough, there is a public house called The Goat in Bala, Snowdonia. I long to visit Arbroath and will be sure to heed your kind invitation if and when I do!

  5. That is so beautiful - wonderful! And did you know the best ting about stained glas is that it loks it's very best if you don't clean it! Those are the sort of windows I love

    When you're looking for some more great windows, come and visit Lincoln Cathedral - or York Minster


  6. Sainte-Chapelle is my favourite place in Paris too! Seems a little known gem - but sooo beautiful. If/when I ever go back to gay Pari shall defo visit again! XX