Paris, France

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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User Reviews

Alicia (2 years ago)
Beautiful historic church, with stunning views all across the city. You can see nearly all major landmarks from different viewpoints. There are many steps to get up to the top. However there's also an outdoor lift type service for the cost of 1 general €1.60 travel ticket. We also saw a tourist train snaking up and around the streets to the top. Once you're there it's very busy & very touristy. Many people sat on the steps at sunset, which is one of the most beautiful times of day. However, if you can I'd highly recommend going either for sunrise or much earlier in the day. There are many sellers with different wares. One was selling some incredibly tasty, fresh & warm sugared almonds. There's also some more touristic bars at the top. If you adventure round the back and down, you'll start to get to a less busy area. I'd highly recommend going no matter what, purely for the views of the city & the architecture of the church!
Taro (2 years ago)
The view from the hill will deserve your effort to go up stairs. You can see the entire city of Paris, and sunset view is breathtaking especially. If necessary, you can take a cable car to get there. The interior of the building is also exquisite. Worth visiting when you come to Paris though it is located a bit far from the central area. Highly recommended.
Renata Runcan (2 years ago)
It was something unique and very beautiful. You should not miss it when visiting Paris. We also recommend the Dome for the amazing panoramic view of the entire city, if you can handle the stairs (almost 300) and the tight space.
Jay Campbell (2 years ago)
Our first time visiting this historic Cathedral. Words cannot describe it, and how blessed we were to have spent time there! We were taken there, by a friend who said: “I’m not a religious person, but every time I come here, I am moved and I feel something!” Regardless of your beliefs, do yourself a favor and go spend time there! In addition, walk around the nearby neighborhood and explore all the sights this magical city has to offer!
Daniel Jacob (2 years ago)
The best religious or spiritual experience, in the most beautiful place of worship, I have ever had. Everyone visiting Paris should visit this church, even if you're not a Christian. You won't regret it. Highest point in Paris with stunning views of the city. A good hike to get up the stairs but there is a tractor train thing I noticed, however I do not know from where you catch it. Stunning experience at sunset on a full moon.
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