Also called Sacré Cœur Basilica, this impressive church sits atop the butte
Montmartre and looks out over beautiful Paris. Shimmeringly white,
the Sacré Cœur is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of
Jesus and was built using contributions by local Catholics in an act of regret
for the Franco-Prussian war of 1870–1871. Started in 1875, the construction
wasn’t completed until 1914 and its design was inspired by eastern Byzantine
architecture, hence the three white domes. Its unmistakable white color is due
to its being made from travertine stone. This stone constantly exudes calcite,
ensuring the building stays white despite the attempts of weathering and
pollution to tarnish it.
And if you thought the exterior was a sight to behold, the interior will
delight you! This fabulous church is home to the largest apse mosaic in the
world, Christ in Majesty by Luc-Olivier Merson, which depicts The Sacred Heart
of Jesus worshiped by the Virgin Mary, Joan of Arc, and St. Michael the
It has a bronze alter, based on the one at Cluny Abbey in Burgundy. The
Blessed Sacrament above it has been on display since 1885 and has been under
uninterrupted perpetual adoration since then.
A visit to the crypt reveals statues of saints and the relic that many
believe is the very Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur) of Christ.
The basilica also boasts the “Savoyarde”, a free-swinging bell weighing
an impressive 19 tons (over 17,000 k), one of the largest in the word.
Up nearly 300 spiral steps, taking you right up into the basilica’s dome,
one of Paris’ most spectacular panoramic views awaits at over 270 ft (82 m)
above Montmartre. You can see as far as 18.6 mi (30 km) on a clear day.
Don’t forget to visit the rear of the grounds where there is a
contemplative garden and fountain, though contemplation may be difficult among
the hordes of tourists!
You do need to remain aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your
things. You may encounter children wishing to talk to you but who then tie a
bracelet around your wrist and demand payment for it.
Buses 30, 31, 80 and 85 will drop you at the bottom of the hill, from which
you only need to climb the steps or take the funicular that runs parallel to
them. The Montmartrobus takes you to Place du Tertre or Norvins. Alternatively,
Métro 12 will take you to Abbesses, and line 2 to Anvers.
Daily: 6 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
9 a.m. - 7 p.m. (6 p.m. in winter)
Entry to the basilica is free.
Entrance fee to the dome: €5.
Phone: +33 1 5341 8900