Visit the Sacré Coeur

It’s difficult to miss the dome of Sacré Coeur basilica in Paris’s skyscape! This Romano-Byzantine church, perched on the top of Paris’s tallest hill, is a classic image of Paris – nearly a cliché – that you certainly can’t miss.

The Basilica

Two rich Catholic members of the bourgeoisie hatched the idea for this basilica, a church dedicated to the perpetual adoration of the Sacred Heart (or Sacré Coeur) of Jesus. Funded by the faithful, the church quickly became a financial nightmare, due to the fragility of the hill, which was tunneled full of holes like a giant Swiss cheese, thanks to a host of underground quarries. As a result, cement had to be poured deep into the ground, so that solid foundations could be created.
The monument is famous today for its stark whiteness. Its color isn’t a miracle; it’s due to the particularity of the stone, which becomes whiter when it comes into contact with rainwater.

Visiting the Sacré Coeur

Visiting Sacré Coeur starts far below the basilica itself. In order to reach it, you have a choice between the funicular (at the pleading of your children) or the stairs.
Should you choose the latter, 237 steps await you. When you’ve climbed them and stop, panting, at the vista, you’ll be surrounded by a crowd, listening to street musicians or watching acrobats perform. As soon as you’ve finally caught your breath, it’ll be almost instantly taken away, as you contemplate the beauty of the church’s interior and the vast mosaic that decorates the choir. To your left sits the crypt, which you can access via a narrow staircase. If your claustrophobia doesn’t get the better of you, you can get up to the dome’s gallery, which offers a plunging view of the interior of the basilica and a 360-degree view of the city outside. It’s an exceptional viewpoint, which, weather permitting, will allow you to see up to 50 kilometers away.

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