Standing proudly in Montmartre, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a beautiful Christian church building that should definitely be on your list of attractions.
What you need to know about Sacré-Cœur Basilica
City: Paris, France.
Transport links: Abbesses (Line 12 - Green). The station brings you out about 100 metres from the funicular that will take you up towards the Sacré-Cœur basilica.
Nearby attractions: Moulin Rouge.
Access: Entry to the Basilica is free. There is no entry available to the bell tower and, for security reasons, the crypt is not accessible at this point in time.
Fact: The people of France came to the decision to build the Basilica at the end of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 in honour of the Sacred Heart of Paris. It was not completed and consecrated until well after World War I in 1919.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a stunning church and well worth the trek
Any visit to Montmartre as part of a Paris holiday is likely to include a visit to Sacré-Cœur also.
The Basilica is certainly the stand-out focal point that draws most of the visitors to the area. It is the second most visited church building in the whole of France, only beaten in popularity by Notre-Dame Cathedral on the banks of the Seine River in the centre of Paris.
Getting up to it requires a fair trek up a lot of steps (easy to anyone able-bodied.... and it's not a race remember) so don't be too daunted by the endeavour. When you get to the top you can check out the view of the surrounding area and see Paris from a fairly unique vantage point.
The only thing higher in the whole of Paris than you at this point is the Eiffel Tower. You can see it in the distance as you stand atop the mount surveying the whole of the city.
You will also certainly be struck by how white and shiny the church looks both from afar and up close. It is made from the same specially selected stone that was used in the Arc de Triomphe and is more resistant to water than other materials used in stone masonry. There is even an additional property that the stone has which causes it to release calcite when rain water hits it. This further aids its ability to stay whiter and cleaner than your average building or monument.
Inside the Basilica itself there is wonderful religious decorative art to be found. There are many examples but the most striking is certainly the painted ceiling above the altar which features frankly huge depictions of biblical characters including Jesus Christ. The angle that the ceiling is viewed at from ground level many well cause you to be taken aback by the way it appears to loom over visitors. It really is quite imposing and makes a statement.
Even outside Sacré-Cœur Basilica the area is a peaceful place to relax
There is a lovely vibe about the area that entices both tourists and locals alike. When you finish climbing the hill you should stop and catch your breath, pat yourself on the back for your efforts and take time to chill for a little bit. The relaxed state of mind will do you good before you go into the Basilica itself.
Many visitors enjoy the view, many more enjoy the basilica but all speak of a sense of freedom and an inescapable feeling of wanting to live with purpose and meaning. It isn't fluffy new-age thinking. The place has a certain vibe that is for sure soothing and relaxing so open yourself up to that, do not rush around and enjoy the experience of Sacré-Cœur Basilica in full.