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Basilique du Sacre Coeur

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The Basilique du Sacre Coeur is built upon the bones of the citizens of Paris, who died in the bloody uprising known as The Paris Commune of 1871.

The Commune was a short-lived governing body, briefly in power after defeat of the French in the Franco-Prussian War. The disastrous end to this war, which was a triumph for the Germans, was followed by worker unrest in the capital and a growing hatred of Napoleon III, the reigning monarch. There was much fighting in the streets and the burning of edifices connected with the ruling class, including the destruction of the Tuileries Palace, as the citizens of Paris revolted.

The church itself was begun in 1875, the result of a competition among 77 architects, and the design was awarded to Paul Abadie. The style was pure rebellion against the baroque-style construction popular during the rule of Napoleon III, which was exemplified by the opulent Opera Garnier.

Architect Abadie died shortly after the foundation had been laid. Five architects and one World War later, the basilica was finally consecrated, in 1919. It is built of travertine stone, quarried in France. This stone is continually exuding calcite, which keeps the church white through seasons of accumulating city grime and inclement weather. When one is looking at the vista, all the way across the city, through the windows of the Musee D'Orsay, the white monolith of Sacre Coeur is visible on the highest promontory of the village of Montmartre.

Sacre Coeur's bell, is one of the heaviest in existence and was cast in 1895. It weighs 19 tons.

Many pilgrims come to pray here and "proper attire" is requested. However, if you plan on climbing the steps which lead to the church, and then want to head up to the dome, you had best wear comfortable shoes!

Basilique du Sacre Coeur
18th Arrondissement
Metro: Anvers, Abbesses
Open Daily

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