Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France.

A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Sacré-Cœur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the excesses of the Second Empire and socialist Paris Commune of 1871 crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order, publicly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was an increasingly popular vision of a loving and sympathetic Christ.

The striking building, with its towers and white onion dome was built in the years between 1875 and 1914 on the birthplace of La Commune, officially as an act of penitence for the sins committed during the civil war in which thousands of Communards were executed, as well as for the bloodshed of the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian war which followed. A number of prominent businessmen put up the money, and a dizzying combination of architects worked to put together the mock Romano-Byzantine extravaganza. Consecration followed in 1919.

The view over Paris from the dome and from the square before it is unsurpassed, apart from that enjoyed at the Eiffel Tower. For the athletic traveller there are stairs from several directions to the top of the hill; otherwise there is also a funicular which runs every few minutes during the daytime from Place St. Pierre. The basilica complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain.

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