When I tell people that my husband and I love Paris and have been to the City of Light probably a dozen times, I often get asked, “Is there something you do on every trip? ”
In fact, this happened recently when we were in Paris, standing in line out side Sainte Chapelle, waiting to go through security to attend a concert in this 800 year old cathedral with its absolutely magnificent windows.
The people asking were two empty nest, baby boomer couples like us. We happened to strike up a conversation because we had seen the two women in the group in charmingly little shop on Ille Saint Louis a few hours earlier.
Our response was swift and immediate. This is what we do every time. We love going to a concert at Saint Chapelle, reveling in the stunning ambiance, retreating from the tourists and everyday world. I love imagining what it might have been like to have attended services when this church was the center of village life for the residents of Paris.
It dates back before Notre Dame and it is inspiring.
I wrote about this experience on this blog about a year ago. The post is called, “Sainte Chapelle is a stunning location for a concert.” I’m adding a few photos and a couple of bits of advice for anyone thinking about going.
First, you can buy tickets at the door but the easiest thing is to go on line before you leave your home. You can choose which music, dates and times and be prepared.
Second, get to the concert a bit early. You do have to go through a security check.
Three. If possible choose a concert time when the sun is still bright. The last time we attended a concert we went to the 7 pm performance. It was perfect.
The sun shining through the windows was incredibly inspiring. The windows almost sparkled. Totally spiritual. Just stunning. As we sat and listened to the chamber music, the sun faded and a lovely murky darkness settled around us in a hauntingly beautiful way. The room glowed, adding to the total pleasure of the moment.
Four. Don’t feel you need to sit in front rows. Normally in a venue without raised seats, I’d go for as far forward as I can get but in this case the windows are as much a part of the experience as the music. Maybe more.
I like sitting about a third to a half of the way back so I can soak in the ambiance while relishing the music. But then I’m very visual…..and that’s what I try to emphasize on my blog.
Next time we may sit in the back and see what that is like. Trust me, there will be a next time.
Five. I do try to make a reservation at a restaurant with a quieter ambiance afterwards. Somehow, going to a noisy, rocking type bistro doesn’t fit with the mystical feeling of the night. This last time we went to Le Dome Du Marais, which was a little noisier than I could have liked because of one fun-loving party, but the décor and service were perfect.
So, that’s it. If you have been to one of these concerts I hope you’ll add a comment about your experience or a bit of advice. It’s always good to get real life experience to share with fellow travelers–whether they are actual or armchair.