Category Archives: French Architecture

Notre Dame Architectural Style, Episode 5

Notre Dame architectural style, cathedral photographed from the back

Notre Dame Architectural Style

In today’s episode, Elyse talks to us about the Notre Dame Architectural Style. She explains the architectural innovations you can see at Notre Dame, she explains the function of stained glass windows, the architectural purpose of chimeras and gargoyles, the art you will see at Notre Dame, and many things that you need to understand about medieval architecture.

Many medieval visitors were illiterate, but back then, they knew how to read the statues and stained-glass windows they saw in Cathedrals. We have lost this knowledge today. That is why you need to listen to this episode and get a quick course in how to read a cathedral by looking at the art and the pictures.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights with Time Stamps
  • Limestone church [1’50”]
  • The 3 entrances of Notre Dame and what they mean [5’45”]
  • The Kings on the upper part of the facade  [10′]
  • The restauration of the facade in the XIX century [11’20”]
  • The structure of Notre Dame, Notre Dame architectural style and innovation  [14’15”]
  • Stained-glass windows [16’40”]
  • Gargoyles, chimeras and what they mean in medieval architecture [19’30”]
  • Architectural innovations at Notre Dame: the flying buttresses [23’15”]
  • Walk around Notre Dame [30′]

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The Sainte Chapelle in Paris, Episode 3

The Sainte Chapelle in Paris


On today’s episode we discuss the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. It was the King’s private chapel, and this one place in Paris that will make you feel like a king too. This should be on everyone’s top-10 for Paris, even for people who don’t enjoy visiting churches. The Sainte Chapelle has not been a church for a long time. Today it is used for concerts and is a popular place to visit.

On a sunny day, the Sainte Chapelle feels like walking into a kaleidoscope. The colors will overwhelm you and you’ll never look at stained-glass windows the same way. The kings knew things about light and color that we’ve since forgotten, and it’s a privilege to see them again.

The Sainte-Chapelle is not very big, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours to see it all, but these are two hours you will never forget. So next time you’re in Paris go!

The Sainte Chapelle Episode

[02:00] The Sainte Chapelle is where Saint Louis displayed the Crown of Thorns. How much do we know about this relic, was it the real thing?

[03:20] They built this church for the exclusive use of the French King and his family. Louis IX a.k.a. Saint Louis was very pious and having precious relics in his possession was a sign that God favored his reign and that he was the legitimate ruler of France.

[04:00] The Gothic architectural style is what you will see in this church with tall stained glass windows and narrow stone pillars. Light reflections are an opening into paradise.

[06:00] Many visitors to Paris walk right past the entrance to the Sainte Chapelle and never go inside. We think you shouldn’t miss it and explain why. We recommend you get the Museum Pass which includes this attraction and plan on spending some time in the security line.

How Did they Build the Sainte Chapelle?

[07:00] The makers of this stained glass used a secret formula for some of their colors that we cannot reproduce.

[08:00] It’s a miracle that the stained-glass is still there. There is a video on the bottom level that shows you how they keep the stained glass pristine and safe through two World Wars and Occupations by the Germans.

[09:30] We think this is more beautiful even than Chartres Cathedral, but they are both marvelous in their own way.

[11:30] Practical considerations: How to get there, entrance fees, photos ARE ALLOWED now! How fit do you have to be for this visit? There are some stairs. There is an elevator but only if reserved ahead of time. This venue only offers guided tours in French. If you want a tour in English arrange it ahead of time. This visit is not ideal for small children.

Thank you listeners! In the comments we’d love to know if you’ve visited the Sainte Chapelle and how it made you feel.