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 (3 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 (3 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 (3 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 (4 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 (4 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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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.