So today it was bare sleeves, skirt above the knee, and walking to a soundtrack of me cursing my single pair of so uncomfortable sandals. Blistered in the blistering heat of what can only be described as summer weather, I walked, and ended up at Sainte-Chapelle, where I expected to queue, and queue some more, like the British girl I am.
The best thing about Paris, is, in my opinion, the free access to pretty much everything for under 25s in the EU. Thanks to this fantastic scheme, I have been able to visit the galleries and museums, for the most part, without spending a single euro of my limited budget.
And in this case, it meant no queuing necessary. A flip of a passport, what I like to think was a very pleasantly accented ‘merci’ (though God knows my French is still rudimentary at best), and I was in.
I’m so glad I went. Notre-Dame and Sacre-Cœur are bigger and a trifle more grandiose (and also free for everyone to visit), but Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
With the sunlight spilling through the glass in the Upper Chapel, and all the colours reflecting across the intricate tiles on the floor, it was not difficult to see why even the French Revolution saw this marvel spared.
According to the free pamphlet, much of the interior was restored after 1846, but the phenomenal windows are the original ones installed during the six year construction period of 1242-1248.
Afterwards I did the only thing that must be done on a sunny afternoon in the city. I took a long stroll along the river, and sat in the park with my book. (The Romanovs, by Simon Sebag-Montefiore, if you want to know – look out for a review soon).
So, basically, if you’re in Paris, go to Sainte-Chapelle, especially if you’re under 25 and in the EU (there is a also reduced entry fee for young people from other parts of the world).
And if you’re not in Paris, Sainte-Chapelle is one of about 1000 things to do here, and if there is such a thing as a city made of art, this is it.
So go. You will never regret, or forget it.