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Sacre Coeur

Sacre-Coeur-Paris is located at the top of a hill of Montmartre and  the five white marble domes and campanile can be seen from all over Paris. Inspired by churches in Constantinople and Venice, Sacre-Coeur has a Byzantine-Romanesque façade.

Construction began in 1875 and was completed 40 years later. Because of the limestone quarries which were beneath the construction site, 83 pillars that are 33 meters deep were placed in the ground to support the walls and columns of Sacre-Coeur.

I haven’t converted the metric measurements to feet and inches because I find the repetition of 83 to be interesting. In addition to the 83 pillars, the Basilica is 83 meters tall and because it is built with a stone that literally bleaches with age, it is always a splendid white. In damp weather the calcite in the stone leaches out which keeps the building chalky white. Because it is located on top of Montmartre this height of 83 meters means that it is over 200 meters above the River Seine! After the Eiffel Tower it is the highest point in Paris.

In the apse of Sacre-Coeur-Paris you will find a mosaic which is among one of the largest in the world is titled Christ in Majesty.

Christ in His Majesty

Christ in His Majesty

There is a garden for meditation outside of the Basilica and for a small fee you can climb to the top of the great dome.  This is well worth the effort not only because internally you arrive at the stained glass gallery but also because of the views of Paris.

View from the dome of Sacre-Coeur

View from the dome of Sacre-Coeur

The organ also has a very interesting background.  It was originally commissioned for a château in Biarritz. It was eventually acquired by the Basilica in 1919 and is of such imposing size, unique sound quality and rare provenance of manufacture that the French state classified it as a national monument in 1981.

Sacre-Coeur is a pilgrimage site, not a parish church. Services are held here continuously, manned at nights by delegates from local Parisian churches. For those on pilgrimages, there is a guest house and dining rooms as well as access to the Basilica for prayer during the hours between 11pm and 6 am.


Directions

35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre
Metro Line 12, Abbesses stop

Opening Hours

6 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.


 

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