All the know-how of France Tourisme, to rediscover the magic of Paris at the best price!

Contact usSpecial giftsMy accountMy Cart
You are here: France TourismeBlogParis monumentsThe Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre
Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre: A Symbol of Devotion and History

The Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre - A symbol of devotion and history

Before the Construction of the Sacré-Cœur

Before becoming the site of the famous Sacré-Cœur basilica, Montmartre was a village in its own right, surrounded by vineyards and fields. Known for its windmills and cabarets, this hill offered breathtaking views of Paris. Throughout the 19th century, Montmartre became a major artistic center, attracting painters like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec, who found inspiration in its bohemian atmosphere.

Origin of the Construction

The construction of the Sacré-Cœur was initiated following a national defeat and deep civil unrest. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the horrors of the Paris Commune, the basilica was envisioned as an act of penance and reparation for the nation's sins. The idea was launched by Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury, who saw this project as a means to moralize and unify the country after these tragic events. The cornerstone was laid in 1875, marking the beginning of a construction that would be completed in 1914.

Highlights of the Sacré-Cœur

The Sacré-Cœur basilica is notable for both its architecture and its interior decorations. With its Romano-Byzantine style, it stands out distinctly from other Parisian religious buildings. The central dome offers impressive acoustics and houses one of the largest mosaics in France, depicting Christ in Majesty, which dominates the entire choir. Donor names are engraved on the stones or columns of the basilica. Pay close attention to Saint Peter's right foot, seated behind the choir; it is worn from the friction and kisses of the faithful. Outside, its white dome is visible from afar, crowning Montmartre with its radiant presence.

The Tradition of Perpetual Adoration

Since its completion, the Sacré-Cœur has been a place of perpetual adoration. This tradition involves a constant presence of the faithful praying before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed day and night. This practice reflects the basilica's commitment as a place of continuous prayer, open to all those seeking peace and spirituality.

Visiting Tips

Visiting the Sacré-Cœur offers a rich experience, not only spiritually but also culturally. To avoid the crowds, it is best to visit early in the morning or in the evenings. Be sure not to miss ascending to the dome for a spectacular view of Paris. Also, explore the alleyways of Montmartre surrounding the basilica, where the art and history of Paris continue to thrive through its cafes and artists' studios. For the best view of the basilica, head to Square de la Turlure, a lesser-known spot but ideal for capturing the Sacré-Cœur from an impressive angle.

Guided Tour of Montmartre

France Tourisme, your expert guide, organizes discovery walks in Montmartre throughout the year. You can also enjoy a romantic ride through Montmartre in a 2 CV, the most iconic of French cars.

Your tour will start at Place des Abbesses. You will then climb up to Moulin de la Galette, the only working mill on the hill, followed by a visit to the charming Place du Tertre with its legendary portrait artists and quaint cafes.

Continue to discover the Montmartre of Amélie Poulain, the famous cabaret Lapin Agile, the vineyards of Montmartre, and finally the Sacré-Cœur.