Basilica du Sacre-Coeur

sacre coeur

This stunningly white domed building is an iconic structure in Montmartre and Paris as a whole. It sits atop Montmartre Hill, which is the highest point in Paris and overlooks the city.

While there are a lot of old buildings throughout Paris, this is not one of them. Sacre Coeur wasn’t constructed until 1875 by architect Paul Abadie as penitence for attacking their own citizens in the French commune of Montmartre. It was completed in 1914 and was consecrated as a basilica five years later.

Basilica du Sacre-Coeur

The hill in Montmartre was used as a place of worship long before a building was constructed. It began with a pagan temple to honor Mercury and Mars and changed to several others before becoming the church it is today.

Basilica du Sacre-Coeur - Dome 300 steps

The interior is quite beautiful but the panoramic views from the dome are out of this world. The top is a mere 300 steps climb… If you don’t feel like climbing up the dome, you can still get an amazing view from the steps of the Sacre Coeur itself.

Fun Facts about the Sacre-Coeur

Fun Facts about the Sacre-Coeur:

  • The basilica’s bell is one of the biggest and heaviest in the world.
  • The church was named after the heart of Christ instead of a saint.
  • There is never a need to clean the building. Architect Paul Abadie chose a white stone from the quarries in Souppes. It is the same stone that was used for building the Arc de Triomphe and the Alexandre III bridge. It is water resistant and when it makes contact with water the stone releases a substance called calcite that cleans the stone and keeps it white.
  • The ceiling in the entrance hall holds one of the largest mosaics in the world. It is called the Apse mosaic and is estimated to span 475 square meters.
  • Look around the outside and you will find King Louis IX on horseback. He is the only king to ever be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. The individual to the right on horseback is Joan of Arc who was recognized as a saint by the church in 1920.

If you are in Paris during the Christmas holiday, take the opportunity to attend the Christmas Eve mass at midnight. It can get crowded so arrive early. The organ concert is at 10 p.m. and the Christmas vigil is at 11 p.m.

Helpful Information

Best Time to Visit: Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris 75018 Open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Entrance is free and no reservation is required. The dome is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can access the dome on your left after entering the basilica gates just before the basilica doors.

Important Information


Kristal Ham

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