Sacré-Cœur Basilica (English: Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is a Roman Catholic Church and a famous landmark in Paris, France. The magnificent monument has political and cultural significance to the French people. It is a minor basilica, dedicated to the "Sacred Heart of Jesus". The Sacré-Cœur Basilica is the work of French architect Paul Abadie.
Description And History
Construction of the Basilica started in the year 1875 and ended in 1914. Architect Paul Abadie, who had designed other buildings in France, won the competition to design the Basilica. It was built at the iconic summit of Butte Montmartre. The intention was to have an imposing Christian building where everyone in Paris could see it.The Basilica’s construction cost ran up to 7 million French francs. The expenses were met by private donations. Sacré-Cœur Basilica was built in Roman-Byzantine architectural design. Travertine stone was used in the construction. As a result, the building has a striking white finish which makes it recognizable from afar. The Basilica rises to 272 feet tall. The inside ceiling is decorated with a giant mosaic created by Luc-Olivier Merson. The Basilica has a water fountain and a garden where visitors go for meditation.
Unique Features Of The Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is situated on the highest point in Paris. Its construction was inspired by the defeat of French troops in the Franco-Prussian War. The Basilica was also a dedication to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, the Basilica is a political symbol as well as a religious symbol. The Basilica stands out in its architectural design compared to the surrounding buildings. Sacré-Cœur Basilica is home to one of the finest pipe organs made by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. It is also home to one of the largest bells- La Savoyarde- which weighs 19 tons.
Tourism To The Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is one of the most visited monuments in Paris. Its proximity to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral makes it an attractive tourist site. It is estimated that 11.5 million tourists visit the site annually. Due to its strategic location, people who visit the Basilica’s dome get a scenic aerial view of Paris city. The Basilica provides visitors with a range of activities from Musical performances to historical lessons, picnics to aerial views of Paris. Sacré-Cœur Basilica is also a pilgrimage site. Catholic pilgrims visit the Basilica for prayers and also to adore the Blessed Sacrament which is perpetually on display in a monstrance.
Access To The Sacré-Cœur Basilica
There are various means to the top of Montmartre. One of the options is to walk up the hill. Moreover, there are buses taking people up the hill to the Basilica and bringing them back. There is also the funicular car which provides direct access to the Basilica.
Threats To The Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre
The major threat to Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a large number of visitors who flock to the site annually. These visitors cause damage to the Basilica’s structures in their movement around the place. Harsh weather conditions also lead to wear and tear of the buildings that make up the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Air pollution in the busy city of Paris poses a threat to the Basilica’s beaming white finish. Criminals and pickpockets who dot around the Basilica are a threat to visitors of the Basilica as well.