The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica. It is a popular landmark located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Sacré-Cœur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the defeat of France in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and the socialist Paris Commune of 1871 crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order, publicly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was an increasingly popular vision of a loving and sympathetic Christ.

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919. The overall style of the structure shows a free interpretation of Romano-Byzantine features, an unusual architectural vocabulary at the time, which was a conscious reaction against the neo-Baroque excesses of the Palais Garnier, which was cited in the competition. Many design elements of the basilica symbolise nationalist themes: the portico, with its three arches, is adorned by two equestrian statues of French national saints Joan of Arc (1927) and King Saint Louis IX, both executed in bronze by Hippolyte Lefebvre; and the nineteen-ton Savoyarde bell (one of the world"s heaviest), cast in 1895 in Annecy, alludes to the annexation of Savoy in 1860.

Abadie died not long after the foundation had been laid, in 1884, and five architects continued with the work: Honoré Daumet (1884–1886), Jean-Charles Laisné (1886–1891), Henri-Pierre-Marie Rauline (1891–1904), Lucien Magne (1904–1916), and Jean-Louis Hulot (1916–1924). The Basilica was not completed until 1914, when war intervened; the basilica was formally dedicated in 1919, after World War I, when its national symbolism had shifted.

A provisional chapel was consecrated 3 March 1876, and pilgrimage donations quickly became the mainstay of funding. Donations were encouraged by the expedient of permitting donors to 'purchase' individual columns or other features as small as a brick. It was declared by the National Assembly that the state had the ultimate responsibility for funding.

Muted echoes of the Basilica"s 'tortured history' are still heard, geographer David Harvey has noted. In February 1971 demonstrators pursued by the police took refuge in the Basilica and called upon their radical comrades to join them in occupying a church 'built upon the bodies of communards in order to efface that red flag that had for too long floated over Paris' as their leaflets expressed it.

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Founded: 1875-1919
Category: Religious sites in France

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Becky Payne (10 months ago)
A must visit in Paris, beautiful church and incredible view over Paris from the top of the steps. Many people visit for sunset and bring their own drinks and snacks. However, be aware of group of men at the bottom of the steps trying to stop you to sell bracelet strings, who won't take no for an answer and can get aggressive. They are trying to tie it on and then demand payment once it can't be taken off.
Damien Babington (10 months ago)
WOW!!! I must see in Paris, i would not have went here only my hotel recommended it. Beautiful views from the city here. Also if you are with a loved one you can by lock and get it engraved and attach it to the fence, make sure you get the right guy tho who does the engraving for you, he is the best. It is one of the nicest buildings in Paris. Get the metro to it, it is only 2e on the metro. ✌
Dut Kasilag (10 months ago)
A little outside of Paris, this place is so worth it for two things; first the church itself and second the view from the top. There is a funicular for the faint of heart but for the exercise buffs, this is an excellent cardiovascular workout. I’m not sure if the steps (just like in most Asian temples) are meant to evoke humility to anyone wanting to go up there to commune with the Divine. Once you get to the top, you’ll realize that your efforts paid off - truly worth it! It’s a church so be respectful and offer a prayer. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water - you’ll need it. Enjoy!
Michael Rachid (11 months ago)
This is a very beautiful basilica where you can appreciate gorgeous views of Paris since it's placed at the highest point of the city. it's a beautiful building and hopefully you get it open and with permission to take pictures. You can get there by the traditional way, taking lots of stairs, but there are also alternatives. Even with so many visitors, it's a place of peace and quiet, so follow the code and enjoy.
Noral Piers-Blundell (11 months ago)
A beautiful Basilica, positioned on top of the highest point in Paris. As such, there are spectacular views of the city. I would also suggest paying to walk up to the dome (about €6 I think). Keep in mind that it's 300 steps high, and you're walking up through a narrow tower, so it may not be for everyone. That being said, if you make it to the top you will have some of the best views in Paris. ***BE WARNED*** there are large groups of pickpockets out front where people go to take photos of the view. These 'ladies' will ask you to sign a document, then ask for money. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING OR GET YOUR WALLET OUT. They will all flock over to you then either snatch your wallet, distract you whilst others try and look into your back pockets and/or backpack, or at the very least insist that you pay the rest of them. These people are gangs, and have lookouts everywhere. We saw this happen multiple times in the couple of hours we were there, despite my best efforts to warn anyone who was getting harrased. You will also have people try and place a small string around your finger and try and 'catch you', once again stay away! There are plenty of tricks used in Paris.
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Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.