Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur Paris France

inside the Paris attraction Sacre Coeur

Inside the Paris attraction Sacre Coeur

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris, commonly known as Sacre Coeur Basilica (French: Basilique du Sacre Coeur), is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.

Basilique du Sacre Coeur

The inspiration for the Basilica originated in the wake of the division in French society that arose in the decades following French Revolution, between devout Catholics and legitimist royalists on one side, and democrats, secularists, socialists and radicals on the other. This schism became particularly pronounced after the Franco-Prussian War and the ensuing uprising of the Paris Commune of 1870-71. Though today the Basilica is asserted[who?][when?] to be dedicated in honor of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée nationale, 24 July 1873, responding to a request by the archbishop of Paris by voting its construction, specifies that it is to “expiate the crimes of the communard”. 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 Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, who became a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church. His successor Guibert, climbing the Butte Montmartre in October 1872, was reported to have had 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”.

In the moment of inertia following the resignation of the government of Adolphe Thiers, 24 May 1873, François Pie, bishop of Poitiers, expressed the national yearning for spiritual renewal— “the hour of the Church has come”that would be expressed through the “Government of Moral Order” of the Third Republic, which linked Catholic institutions with secular ones, in “a project of religious and national renewal, the main features of which were the restoration of monarchy and the defense of Rome within a cultural framework of official piety”, of which Sacré-Cœur is the chief lasting triumphalist monument.

The decree voting its construction as a “matter of public utility”, 24 July,[8] followed close on Thiers’ resignation. The project was expressed by the Church as a National Vow (Voeu national) and financial support came from parishes throughout France. The dedicatory inscription records the Basilica as the accomplishment of a vow by Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury, ratified by Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, Archbishop of Paris. The project took many years to complete.

Construction

A law of public utility was passed to seize land at the summit of Montmartre for the construction of the basilica. Architect Paul Abadie designed the basilica after winning a competition over 77 other architects. With delays in assembling the property, the foundation stone was finally laid 16 June 1875. Passionate debates concerning the Basilica were raised in the Conseil Municipal in 1880, where the Basilica was called “an incessant provocation to civil war” and it was debated whether to rescind the law of 1873 granting property rights, an impracticable proposition. The matter reached the Chamber of Deputies in the summer of 1882, in which the Basilica was defended by Archbishop Guibert while Georges Clemenceau argued that it sought to stigmatise the Revolution. The law was rescinded, but the Basilica was saved by a technicality and the bill was not reintroduced in the next session. A further attempt to halt the construction was defeated in 1897, by which time the interior was substantially complete and had been open for services for six years.

Paris attraction Sacre Coeur

Paris attraction Sacre Coeur

The overall style of the structure shows a free interpretation of Romano-Byzantine features, an unusual architectural vocabulary at the time, which was a conscious reaction against the neo-Baroque excesses of the Opéra Garnier, which was cited in the competition. Many designelements of the basilica symbolise nationalist themes: the portico, with its three arches, is adorned by two equestrian statues of French national saints Joan of Arc (1927) and King Saint Louis IX, both executed in bronze by Hippolyte Lefebvre; and the nineteen-ton Savoyarde bell (one of the world’s heaviest), cast in 1895 in Annecy, alludes to the annexation of Savoy in 1860.

Abadie died not long after the foundation had been laid, in 1884, and five architects continued with the work: Honoré Daumet (1884–1886), Jean-Charles Laisné (1886–1891), Henri-Pierre-Marie Rauline (1891–1904), Lucien Magne (1904–1916), and Jean-Louis Hulot (1916–1924). The Basilica was not completed until 1914, when war intervened; the basilica was formally dedicated in 1919, after World War I, when its national symbolism had shifted.

Construction costs, estimated at 7 million French francs and drawn entirely from private donations, were expended before any above-ground visible structure was to be seen. A provisional chapel was consecrated 3 March 1876, and pilgrimage donations quickly became the mainstay of funding. Donations were encouraged by the expedient of permitting donors to “purchase” individual columns or other features as small as a brick.It was declared by the National Assembly that the state had the ultimate responsibility for funding. Construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914, although consecration of the basilica was delayed until after World War I.

Muted echoes of the Basilica’s “tortured history” are still heard, geographer David Harvey has noted. In February 1971 demonstrators pursued by the police took refuge in the Basilica and called upon their radical comrades to join them in occupying a church “built upon the bodies of communards in order to efface that red flag that had for too long floated over Paris” as their leaflets expressed it. (Text Source: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia)

Practical Information

  • Cost for Group Tours: Access to the basilica and the crypt are free for everyone including children.Opening days and times: Basilica opens at 6:00 am and closes at 10.30pm but Dome and crypt opens at 9:00 am and closes at 5.45 pm.
  • Days of the week: It is open everyday included Saturday and Sunday.
  • Email: basilique@sacre-coeur-montmartre.com
  • Fax: 01 5341 8910
  • Independant Tours and Guided Tours: It costs €5 and there is no guided tours in the Basilica.
  • Location: Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, 35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
  • Official Website: www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com
  • Public Holidays: Open on the public holidays of Easter, Easter Monday, 8 May, Ascension Day, Whitsuntide, Whit Monday,14 July, 15 August,1 November, 11 November and 25 December
  • Tel: 01 5341 8900
  • Transportation by air: Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport
  • Transportation by bus metro: Anvers or Abbesses
  • Transportation by bus: Bus: – 30, 31, 80 or 85
  • Transportation by train: Trains run from the base of the Butte de Montmartre to the church at the summit

Sacre Coeur is located in the 18th arrondissement. So, you may want to see;

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