Paris Travel Planner   Basilique Sacré-Coeur, Paris, France
You go to Montmartre and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur not just to see the church, but also to enjoy panoramic views of Paris, nearby Place du Tertre, and much more.




The Basilica of the Sacred Heart (basilique du Sacré-Coeur) crowns Paris's "Mount of Martyrs" (Montmartre) in the northern part of the city (map).

A Byzantino-Romanesque building that's only a century old, it is a familiar landmark gleaming on the skyline and visible from many parts of the city.

At the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, leaders made a vow to build a church dedicated to the sacred heart. The Montmartre site had been considered sacred since prehistory, and the first christian church was built there in the 5th century.

Construction began in 1875, and the basilica was inaugurated in 1891. Work continued on the dome, and the basiica was scheduled for consecration in October 1914. However, because of World War I, this was delayed until 1919.

The ritual of the perpetual adoration of the Eucharist began on August 1, 1885, and continues today.

Sacré-Coeur was made famous by Utrillo and a hundred lesser artists who lived in this neighborhood. The neighborhood today is quite touristy, but the church remains wonderful, and the panoramic view from its bell tower is one of the best around.

The steps in front of the basilica are always jammed with people, as it is a very popular spot to visit. Coming early in the day may avoid some crowds, but there will always be people enjoying the views or visiting the interior of the church.

Be sure to visit the dome. You must climb lots of stairs, but the route is fascinating and very scenic. On a clear day you can see for 50 km (30 miles) across the rooftops of Paris.

  Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Paris, France

After exiting the Basilica, walk around to the right to visit the much older Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre and the Place du Tertre, full of artists madly painting away. Some are better salesmen than artists.

Here's more on the whole Montmartre area, including the nightlife district of Pigalle.

The easiest way to get to the basilique du Sacré-Coeur is to take the Métro to the Pigalle station, then Bus 40 to the top of the hill. It will drop you right next to the church (map).

For more atmosphere (and more climbing stairs), take the Métro to the Anvers station and walk north up rue de Steinkerque to the carrousel (merry-go-round). Then board the Funiculaire de Montmartre and ride it to near the summit; or decide to make it a pilgrimage and trudge up all the way up the hill on the grand staircases that ascend to the church (map).

Churches of Paris

Sacré-Coeur Dome


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Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Paris, France

Above, Sacré-Coeur basilica on the hill of Montmartre, Paris, France.

Left, the other way to get there: climb all those steps.

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