The Sacre-Coeur Basilica from Paris

It is very difficult to find a more charming and more typical place in Paris. In the enchanting quarter of Montmartre, you will feel the nostalgic heartbeat of the town where time seems standing still while walking across the narrow streets and climbing the famous romantic stairs, well known and familiar from a lot of movies. Then, you will discover the Sacre-Coeur Basilica with a breathtaking view all over Paris, and after that maybe you will take some minutes to enjoy a drink in one of the numerous cafes around the artist square named "Place du Tertre".

The Sacre-Coeur Basilica is a popular landmark in Paris, being dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The basilica is located on the highest point in the city. With its origins in the aftermath of the French Revolution among ultra-Catholics and legitimist royalists, it developed more widely in France after the Franco-Prussian War. Though today it is asserted to be dedicated in honor of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée Nationale, back in 1873, specifies that it is to "expiate the crimes of the communards". Montmartre had been the site of the Commune's first insurrection, and many hard-core communards were forever entombed in the subterranean galleries of former gypsum mines where they had retreated, by explosives detonated at the entrances by the Army of Versailles. Hostages had been executed on both sides, and the Communards had executed the Archbishop of Paris, who became a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church. His successor, climbing Montmartre in 1872, was reported having a vision, as clouds dispersed over the panorama: "It is here, it is here where the martyrs are, it is here that the Sacred Heart must reign so that it can beckon all to come".

Sacre-Coeur is built of travertine stone. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, is among the largest in the world. The basilica complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain. The top of the dome is open to tourists and affords a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris.


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