This white construction majestically overlooks Montmartre. It was Built on the top of one of the most emblematic neighborhood of Paris.
It stands 129 meters above the level of the sea. The square in front of the basilica gives a beautiful view of the city of Lights but if you can get at the top of its dome, you will be able to see the whole landscape of Paris.
In 1871, Paris and France were divided into a civil war called the Commune. This movement was born because of the disappointment caused by the French defeat against Prussia in 1870. A battle opposing the governement to the people lasted two months, but at one moment, soldiers managed to break through the defenses of the insurgent Parisians and slaughter them.
Following these events, two wealthy citizens: Legentil Alexander and his brother Hubert Rohaut propose to build a monument in homage to the dead.
Their approach is intended as spiritual hope “(…) make amends for our sins and get the infinite mercy of the Sacred heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of our sins (…)”. The Archbishop of Paris accepted their request and in 1873, the National Assembly proclaims the utility Basilica. This building is intended to remind the people of Paris as the top of Montmartre (Mount of Martyrs) is the symbol of divine protection in France and its people.
Started by architect Paul Abadie, the Sacred Heart sees its foundation stone laid on October 16, 1875. The building’s rocks came from a London castle and have a special characteristic : they whiten when put on contact with rainwater.
After the death of Paul Abadie, 5 architects then will succeed to him through the time.
The completed basilica finally made 85 meters long and 35 meters wide.
The interior Romano-Byzantine style is dominated by a large dome 55 meters high and 16 meters in diameter.
This building is a symbol of Paris : beautiful but also a reminder that France’s freedom has a cost !