Alighting at Pont Neuf station and crossing the Seine along the bridge which gave the metro station its name took us to one of the two islands in the middle of the famous river, the Ile de la Cite, and the Quai de L'Horloge along which we walked to the Palais de Justice. Here we queued in light rain, puzzled by the total lack of wet weather facilities for tourists, so we could buy tickets (€12.50 each) to visit Sainte Chapelle ("Holy Chapel") and La Conciergerie.
The former is located in the courtyard of what used to be the royal palace but is now part of an administrative complex known as La Conciergerie. These are part of an even larger complex known as the Palais de Justice. A medieval gothic building commenced in 1246, it was built to house Louis IX's collection of relics of Christ which included the Crown of Thorns, the Image of Edessa (an image of Christ similar to the Shroud of Turin) and some thirty other items.
After passing through an extremely slack security check in the form of a brief glance into my backpack, we stepped into a small, crowded room that was lined with very old looking, painted timber panels and nothing else of much significance apart from a statue. Wondering about the significance of this place, we noticed people ascending some very narrow, winding steps from a corner of the room and followed them upstairs to what was a much larger room with a very high vaulted ceiling and it's highlight: fifteen tall, quite spectacular stained glass windows containing more than 1,100 Biblical scenes as well as a massive, circular 'rose' window.
While there's not much more to do than look and take in the craftsmanshipof amazing artisans, I thought the visit worthwhile just from the perspective of connecting with it's history - as you do with most ancient or very old buildings.
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