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 (19 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 (19 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 (19 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 (20 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 (20 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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