During this season of renewal, my mind floats to my favorite churches in Paris. I can’t help but marvel at Sainte Chapelle, stuck next to a courthouse, the little sibling of its competitor, the grand Notre Dame Cathedral. With each located on the Ile de la Cité, and with time in the capital limited, the more humble Sainte Chapelle is easy to skip. Go anyway.
Built around 1240 by Louis IX, who managed to become Saint Louis, it once housed Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns until that relic was put into storage over at Notre Dame. The magnificent stained glass remains. What I like about it: the low ceilings of the lower chapel and gift shop downstairs lead to a magnificent surprise for visitors to the soaring windows of the upper chapel, which has a relatively small floorplan. Even doubters will be compelled to look up.
This is not the grand, sweeping Notre Dame; nevertheless, prepare to be awed. As you leave, ponder the separation of church and state as you exit through the Palais de Justice.