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

Hashim Shakeeb (3 months ago)
A beautiful basilica Sacré-Cœur (Funicular) in France. Standing on top of a hill, vastly looking with white doms and a wide scenic view of Paris city from the church boulevard. Amazing external and internal architecture with an ancient look. We have to climb many steps and can use the transport system of an inclined elevator to the top from the bottom level for the cost of 2 euros. Very interesting to understand the culture and the belief. We can see many tourists fixing the padlocks on a fence as part of their love. Surrounding we can see many artists sitting and drawing, painting the portraits specially in a particular area. In history Pablo Picasso and many artists who spent their time over there. Tourists can get their portraits painted or pencil sketched  and buy souvenirs from there. A really peaceful place to visit in Paris.
LEI. R (3 months ago)
A most definite must see while you visit Paris. The building is beautiful and just majestic and impressive, the closer you get to it the better the details get. Prices to enter the basilica are quite affordable and the inside is just as majestic as the outside. Fair warning however, the stairs heading towards the basilica are not for the weak or the faint of heart, it is a significant climb there.
Lily Wheatley (3 months ago)
A must see in Montmartre, we took the long way up, steep hills through the side streets and then took the stairs down, either route needs a good level of fitness but so so worth it for the view at the top and visiting the cathedral itself. Inside is beautiful, but respect needed especially in the central section reserved for silent prayer which I thought was very important. It was crowded when we visited, weekday in February. As some other reviews have said there are some shifty people around, we didn’t witness anything however did have to keep our bags in hand at all time and our wits about us. Lots of men walking around selling things but they do head off straight away if you say no. Definitely worth coming in spite of this as it is an amazing place.
Dana Summers (3 months ago)
Incredible views of Paris and worth the hike up to the top of the Basilica! It costs €8 for adults and €5 for kids to go to the top. It is 300 steps up a very narrow and winding staircase. Kids 8&10 had no issues. The views were great! It’s very windy so hold on to your hats/scarves. Going down was easy just requires pause in order to not be too dizzy with the circling downwards. The Basilica is also beautiful inside and free to enter.
angelamatt101 (3 months ago)
It was absolutely beautiful. Once you make it to the top, the views are stunning. The inside of the church is awesome. all of the little locks on all the fences, millions of them.. a man was outside, entertaining, playing his guitar and singing. I highly recommend it you must go.. but a warning you must wear comfortable shoes and be in decent shape to climb the millions of stairs to get to the top. I had to take several breaks before we made it up, but it was very well worth it.
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