See all of Paris from the Sacred Sacre Coeur Basilica
A venerated pilgrimage site, Sacre Coeur Basilica welcomes thousands of tourists from all over France and around the world every year. Perched over Montmartre, the name signifies the ‘Mount of Martyrs,’ christened after Saint Denis (the first bishop of Paris dating from the 3rd century) who is buried at the Sacre Coeur Basilica site. The site of this huge church originally hosted an abbey which was destroyed during the French Revolution. The Sacre Coeur Basilica itself was approved afterwards in 1873, although construction headaches and World War I meant it was not consecrated until 1919.
The Sacre Coeur Basilica’s Romano-Byzantine interior features a great mosaic entitled ‘Christ in Majesty,’ which is among the largest in the world. You can also see the beautiful stained glass windows and fine pipe organ. However, the highlight of the Sacre Coeur Basilica is the Dome, which reaches 83 meters high from within the church. Once you have taken in the view from atop the Sacre Coeur Basilica and weaved back down the many steps, enjoy a break at the bottom by riding the carousel featured in the famous movie Amélie.
Afterwards, why not drop over to Place des Abesses and get something to eat while admiring the view of the Sacre Coeur Basilica. 'Saint-Jean' and 'Sancerre' are the Montmartre district's oldest and most popular cafes. Art fans will not want to miss nearby Place due Tertre, known as the city's 'Artists Square'. There you'll find the home of almost three hundred artists as well as samples of some of the finest art to come from Paris in recent centuries. By now, you'll have visited one of the world’s most famous holy sites and got a real sense of the beguiling beauty of the Montmartre district.
When to Go to Sacre Coeur
As a world famous tourist destination, Paris gets very crowded in summer. Consider travelling in off-peak times like spring and autumn, but be prepared for rain! The best time to visit the Sacre Coeur Basilica is during the morning before the crowds set in and it is still cool. Another good option is a mid-afternoon visit to enjoy a picnic on the grass under the Basilica.
Odds n' Ends
The Metro stop at Places des Abbesses, on Line 12, leaves you a ten-minute walk from the Sacre Coeur Basilica. The service runs from just after 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. Another option is to go on the district's dedicated bus line, and starting from Place Pigalle, the Montmartrobus takes you to all the principal spots of the district. It runs daily from 7.30 a.m. to after midnight.
For religious visitors to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, there is a Roman Catholic Mass celebrated three times daily, with confession and other special services throughout the week.
All visitors are asked to dress appropriately and observe silence as much as possible.
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