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What’s that you say, calendar? Eleven days left in Paris? Oh, it is too much happiness!

Really, though, I feel more relaxed than I have in ages. What with the end being so close, and my piano being gone, and my refrigerator already more or less sold off, there’s not much more to be done but chill out.

And visit tourist attractions I haven’t visited all year, of course. Yesterday I met up with my dear friend Rachel, who is a terrific singer and a fellow Curly Sue, and her newly-minted fiancé Tristan for breakfast at the Manfred. They are leaving today, so yesterday their plan was to hit as many tourist sites as possible. When Rachel mentioned Sainte Chappelle, my ears immediately perked up, and I decided to tag along.

Sainte Chappelle is one of those tourist attractions where you wait on line for an hour and pay a fee to get in (and it’s not particularly cheap if you’re not a student or an EU citizen between the ages of 18 and 25), and then the visit lasts about ten minutes. But I will tell you, nothing compares to the aesthetic punch in the gut that is the Sainte Chappelle stained glass windows on a sunny day.

As Ian, our Sir Marmaduke, muttered when John Wellington Wells said that either he (Wells) or Alexis must yield up his life to Ahrimanes, “Good GAD.”

It’s stunning, and worth the wait and the price of admission–and by no means lacking in windows! Unfortunately half of them are still being restored, and considering the size and intricacy of them, it could be quite a while before the chapel can be seen in its former glory. I can only imagine what that must look like, with the sunlight streaming through from all sides. What’s particularly astonishing to think about is that the chapel was built in the thirteenth century; actually, that’s the impressive thing about a lot of the tourist attractions in Paris. Think of what it took to build the Eiffel Tower in the 19th century, for the World’s Fair, with none of the construction technology that has been invented since then. Or Notre Dame, or the Palais du Louvre.

It was also highly entertaining to play the tour guide, and especially to realize just how well I do know my way around Paris. I think I’m already looking forward to coming back here on vacation with people who don’t know the city like I do, just so I can show them my favorite places.

I’ll leave you with this little gem. Tristan and Rachel decided to go inside Notre Dame after Sainte Chappelle and Berthillon ice cream (passion fruit and chocolate, miam miam!), but I wasn’t in the mood, so I sat and read Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder outside. As I was reading, an English couple and their teenaged daughter sat down next to me. The dad said, “You know, there was a movie about Notre Dame, with Charles Laughton, he was this sort of ugly deformed guy and he fell in love with a beautiful woman…” Daughter: “Yeah, I think they made a Disney version of that…”