Here are 7 facts about the impressive Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre, one of the Parisian icons par excellence.
This is one of the most charming and special places in Paris. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur in French) is one of the must-see places when visiting Paris.
1. ITS CONSTRUCTION WAS FINANCED WITH SMALL OFFERINGS FROM ALL THE FAITHFUL
This famous church was built on the hill of Montmartre, as an offering to spy all the crimes committed during The Commune. It is worth remembering that The Commune was a very intense and bloody period that occurred in 1871, and was the result of the war against Prussia and the differences between the republican Paris and the National Assembly, which had been recently elected and was considered pro-monarchy. In any case in that period there were executions and destructions that marked the spirit of the city, and of course, that generated deep desires for reconciliation.
2. WAS CONSECRATED TO THE SACRED HEART AND BUILT ON THE HILL OF MONTMARTRE, TO ATTRACT EVERYTHING TO IT
The purpose of this place is very spiritual. It is located on top of a hill where the first Christians of Paris were martyred in the 3rd century. Reportedly, the first bishop of Paris, Saint Denis was beheaded along with his deacons and his companions, and legend has it that Denis walked north with his head in his hand, across Montmartre and up to what is known today as Saint-Denis.
3.ITS CONSTRUCTION TOOK ALMOST 40 YEARS
In 1873 the project for the construction of the basilica was voted in the National Assembly and the following year a public competition was held to choose the project, which was won by Paul Abadie. Its construction began in 1875 and ended in 1914, after delays due to the First World War. Its style is a mixture of Romanesque and Byzantine, and evokes the basilica of St. Mark in Venice or the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. A very particular fact of this church is that it is made of a stone that has the property of whitening on contact with rainwater.
4. IT IS A BASILICA OF IMPRESSIVE PROPORTIONS
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is 85 meters long, 35 meters wide and 83 meters high. Its dome is 55 meters high and has a diameter of 16 meters and features a view of Paris rising to 200 meters, it was the highest in Paris until the arrival of the Eiffel Tower. The bell tower holds a 19-ton bell, called “La savoyarde”, one of the largest in the world. It is so called because it was a gift from the 4 dioceses of the Savoie region, and was brought from Annecy by 28 horses.
5. IT HAS ONE OF THE LARGEST CENTRAL MOSAICS IN THE WORLD
Representing the Glory of Christ, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is adorned with an imposing mosaic of 475 square meters. It took 22 years to complete and features the Risen Christ dressed in white, the Blessed Virgin, Joan of Arc, the Archangel St. Michael and even France is personified by a woman handing over the crown. Also represented are God the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Heart, a tribute from France, through illustrations of historical events linked to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and even the beheaded Saint Denis.
6. YOU CAN VISIT THE SACRE-COEUR’S DOME
Access to the dome is from the left side of the exterior of the Basilica (facing the church). To go up to the Dome, there are 300 steps on foot and it costs 7€. The view is totally worth it. The Crypt can also be visited, but only during the Jubilee years (100 years since the consecration of the Basilica), i.e. this 2020 the crypt is open until December 8. Unfortunately with the health crisis of the COVID-19 it is not possible to visit it at this time.
7. THIS BASILICA IS A PLACE OF PERMANENT ADORATION
Even before the construction was completed, the permanent adoration of the Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament had already begun. This means that, day and night, the body of Christ is exposed inside the Basilica and faces the city. For this reason, the hours are extended, this Basilica is open from 6 a.m. to 22h30 (10:30 p.m.) and the night adoration between 22h30 (10:30 p.m.) and 6 a.m. is open only to those who register.
This place is an emblem of Paris. It is absolutely charming and has a very nice energy. We invite you to visit it using our Detailed Guides of 2, 3, 4 and 5 days, or we can include it in a Personalized Guide that we can design for you, depending on what you dream of visiting and time available.
Never stop dreaming.
Paris is waiting for you.
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