Sacre-Coeur is a famous landmark, situated at the pinnacle of the famous butte Montmartre, which is the highest point after the Eiffel Tower in France. It is a mini Roman Catholic Church also famous by names like Sacré-Cœur Basilica or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. It is dedicated to both the sacred heart of Lord Jesus Christ and to the nationalist martyrs, who lost their lives in the Franco-Russian war.
Sacre-Coeur is one of the few churches built in Paris as a dedication to the martyrs, who were victimised by communalists. Its inspiration dates back to 1870, when the third republic was announced in the face of defeat of France in Franco-Russian war and the then communal war that began with the French revolution. Arch Bishop of Paris Guibert, in 1872 sensed martyr souls amid the clouds atop the hill of Montmartre, which led to the building of Basilica, a place where the sacred souls rested. While the first stone was laid in 1875, the construction saw good and bad days and was finally completed in 1914 though it was consecrated on 16th October 1919 only post the end of the dreaded World War I. The church was honoured as ‘Basilica’ post its consecration.
The design of Sacre-Coeur is credited to designer Paul Abadie. The overall architecture of the Basilica is inspired by the ancient Romano-Byzantine architectures and takes inspiration from churches like San Marco from Venice and Saint Sofia from Constantinople.Resting on the apex of the hill of Montmarte, Sacre-Coeur is 85m long and 35m in width. It has an inner dome, which are 55m in height and 16 in dimensions and 83 metres high outer dome. Base pillars were made to not only support but also prevent Sacre Coeur from sinking in the soil.
Stone of ‘Château-Landon’
There is a travertine stone at the exterior of Sacre-Coeur, which is called ‘Château-Landon’. While being very hard, the stone exudes calcite on its contact with the rainwater, thus making it white more. It was brought from a quarry named Souppes-sur-Loing near the Seine.
While it is said that Saint-Coeur is dedicated to the martyrs of the Franco-Russian war with a belief that the dead brave hearts rest at the pinnacle of Montmarte. But, in true sense the Basilica is dedicated to the victims of the crime by communal. As you surf through Sacre-Coeur, you will see that major designs have nationalist themes embedded on them.
There are two bronze equestrian statues on the portico along with three of its arches. While one represents Joan of Arc, the other is for King Louis IX. Both are national saints of France.
The Savoyarde bell, which was created in 1895 symbolises the takeover of Savoy in 1860. It is one of the heaviest bells in the world, weighing about 19 tonnes.
Highest Point after Eiffel Tower
Sacre-Coeur is considered to at highest pinnacle after the famous Eiffel Tower. The whole of Paris city is visible from this place. Also, the nearby countryside, spread up to 50 km, is also visible from the dome of the Basilica.