Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A visit to Sacré-Cœur - Paris

On the second day in Paris, our destination was the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris or the Sacré-Cœur-Paris - and yet simply the White Cathedral.  The Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church, located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, overlooking the Paris.

The drive up the summit through narrow streets was awesome and once up there, the parking of the car was one big problem as already tourists had thronged the area and we could not find a place near the small bazaar which finally leades to the church. However, we finally were able to find a parking place far down the summit and walking up the summit took a heavy toll of us and almost left me breathless.

The bazaar was full of souveniers and paintings of the church and Paris. And of course there were a number of eateries for providing the necessary relief to the hungry tourists as the morning breakfast had already been digested whie climbing up the summit.

Scroll down for photos of the Sacré-Cœur:

The structure of the church speaks volume of its space and strength which is in white stones - that is why it is commonly known as the white church.  It was designed by Paul Abadie and its construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919.

The church from inside is magnificent and immensely built and decorated. However, it was unfortunate that the tourists were not allowed to take photos and I cannot explain the massiveness of the structure as it looks from inside. The huge church bell, the Savoyarde, has nationalist references: Savoy was annexed to France in 1860. Cast in Annecy in 1895, it is one of the world's heaviest bells at 19 tons.

According to architecture details given at Wikipedia, the Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. And this is why it is commonly known as the White Church.

There are two places from where one can have an impressive all round view of Paris: The Eiffel Tower and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. While at the Eiffel Tower, my son spotted the church in the far distance and took a long distance shot of the church which I have already shared as under in my earlier post Paris down below - as seen from the Eiffel Tower. It is claimed that the highest point of the church is even higher than the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The visit to Sacré-Cœur  would remain a memorable part of the tour to Paris for two reasons: For one we came and saw the massive structure that overlooks Paris same as the Eiffel Tower does, and secondly, the visit ended in an event that robbed us of our valuable time to visit Paris that evening. I would talk about it in one of my next posts.

If you like Jaho Jalal, please follow us on Facebook