The Sainte-Chapelle spire.
It was built by King Louis IX to house relics from the Holy Land, and it is across the "street" from Notre Dame. Actually it was started around the same time, but finished more quickly (around 1240).
More gargoyles....they really were on every church building...we were not sure of the significance, but now I have read that they helped to shed rain water from the building and it was believed they could ward off evil spirits.
And more pieces that fell off of the cathedral
Sainte-Chapelle is located inside of the Conciergerie which was the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept during the French Revolution. Like everything, the prison was once a palace, and it seems all the palaces had their own chapels....I guess Notre Dame wasn't good enough...
You enter from the lower level into this gorgeous blue room, with fluer-de-lis everywhere. Then you get to go up this very, very, small staircase to get to the main level. I am thinking...fire codes? That would be interesting...
Yes, again...lots of people just hanging out....we stepped over lots of people making our way up the stairs
Once inside, the Byzantine style was very apparent! They didn't allow photos, so I had to sneak a few pictures while trying to avoid the security guards.
We then exited the basilica and began to wander the streets to the west of the church and found this wonderfully quaint artists area. The history here is interesting...the area on Montmartre was favored by many famous artists, including Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Renoir. As it was outside the city limits, it was cheap to live here, and it also was surrounded by vineyards and became a popular drinking area. Soon many cabarets filled the area (Moulin Rouge and The Chat Noir are two of the most famous) and it became the center of decadent entertainment and art. The Bohemian movement also finds its roots here.
This area truly was the first place we visited where I felt transported back in time. It was enchanting...the small shops, narrow cobblestone streets, and quaint old homes.
This cafe had this sign above it that basically says that it was a rendezvous for famous artists...listed here on the sign.
There were many of these shops that sold these famous old cabaret posters
The area was really a village and was famous for the many windmills that powered it. That is why the Moulin Rouge has the windmill on it. A couple still exist today.
We went on kind of a wild goose chase to find Vincent Van Gogh's house. I really wanted to find it and David obliged me. I knew the general area, and I thought if we just asked in the shops, someone would know where it was (it would seem that it would be kind of famous). I guess I was wrong, no one knew where the heck it was. So after much wandering around, up and down hills, we found it. The blue door is the entrance. Yes, he only lived here 2 years, and he lived with his brother who owned the place....but I still wanted to see it!