Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), Paris

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), Paris (must see)

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris. Situated at the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city, this basilica stands as a symbol of national penance and a beacon of hope.

The inspiration to construct the basilica came in the aftermath of two devastating events in French history: the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and the Paris Commune. The Franco-Prussian War resulted in a humiliating defeat for France and led to significant political and social upheaval, including the rise of the Paris Commune, a brief and bloody revolutionary government in Paris.

Many in France, particularly conservative Catholics, viewed these events as moral failures of the nation. They believed that the country's suffering was divine punishment for what they saw as the growing secularization and moral decay of French society in the decades following the French Revolution.

The construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914, although the consecration of the basilica was delayed until the end of World War I in 1919.

The basilica showcases a stunning blend of Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. It's most easily recognized by its gleaming white exterior, made from Chateau-Landon stones which secrete calcite, ensuring the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. One of the basilica's most striking features is its large dome, which provides an unparalleled panoramic view of the city of Paris.

Don't get too seduced by its majestic views of Paris and miss spending some time inside. Inside the basilica, visitors are greeted by a 475 square meter mosaic of Jesus with outstretched arms, one of the world's largest mosaics, and the stunning grandeur of the sanctuary. The beautiful golden mosaic is called Christ in Majesty and is meant to symbolize France's devotion to the Sacred Heart. Whether you are a devotee or not, it is definitely worthy of some awed gazing.

Tip:
You will need a level of fitness to climb the stairs. Alternately, you can hop on the free mini-train which starts from opposite the Windmill Theater in Montmartre and stops behind Sacré-Coeur Basilica.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Paris. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) on Map

Sight Name: Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
Sight Location: Paris, France (See walking tours in Paris)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Paris, France

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Le Marais Walking Tour

Le Marais Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour I

Paris Introduction Walking Tour I

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles
Souvenirs Shopping Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.3 Km or 4.5 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour II

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This walk is centered around Île de la Cité and Le Marais, which together form the historical core of power in Paris....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles

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