Sunday, October 3, 2010


Sacré-Cœur is the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Basilica that is visible from most of Paris. It sits on the hill of Montmarte (mount of the martyrs) which is the highest point in the city. The name comes from being the place where Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris, was martyred.

Many saints have come to this hill including Saint Germain, Saint Clotilde, Saint Bernard, Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Vincent de Paul and also Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint François-Xavier who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) here in 1534.

Construction on the basilica began in 1876 and was funded by contributions from Paris Catholics as an act of contrition for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 - 1871. Sacré-Cœur was consecrated in 1919.

Inside the apse is a mosaic entitled Christ in Majesty, that is among the largest in the world. It is quite beautiful.

The basilica is made of travertine. Apparently this stone constantly exudes calcite which is how Sacré-Cœur remains white even with the effects of weather and pollution over time.

At the top is a great panoramic view of the city. On a clear day you can see for 30 km (~19 miles).

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