Sacré Coeur: A History


A Rebellious Past to a Romantic Place

Sacré Coeur is at the heart of what people consider one of the most romantic areas of Paris: Montmartre. So you would think that the story behind the basilica is all love and romance, but it doesn't seem to be. People love Montmartre because of the art, the streets, and the great views. And Sacré Coeur is right there. But do they know the history behind all the beauty and romance?

It has the best views

Sacré Coeur is the highest point in the city, which means that it looks out on some pretty amazing views of Paris. After climbing to the top of the hill, you have to take a moment and look behind you at the beautiful streets and views of Paris.

The View from Sacre Coeur

It was built at a time of loss

People believed that there was a moral decline occurring during the late 1800s. The French had recently lost the Franco-Prussian war. They believed that they needed to do something that would lift the people's spirits after the war and to get them on the right track after years of revolution and civil war.

It was intended to purify Montmartre

Montmartre was an area of rebellion, so much so that there was fighting and revolution. So as a way to stop it, they decided to put Sacré Coeur in the heart of the neighborhood in order to purify it. Today  Montmartre still marches to the beat of its own drum, but it no longer has that rebellion attached to it.

Romano-Byzantine rather than Baroque

Instead of sticking with the style of the Opéra Garnier, they went with a completely different style. Something more classical. This style was intended to bring people back to old times, when things were simpler and people were closer to God.

By the time it was completed it had a different meaning

The basilica was completed in 1914, the year World War I started. It was dedicated in 1919. By then, the people of France had completely changed. They no longer were worried about rebellion and revolution, they had just witnessed some of the worst atrocities known to man. So by the time it was finished, it was intended to bring some beauty into the lives of the Lost Generation.

While it is completely worth it to say that you climbed all the steps to Sacre Coeur, sometimes it is just not what you want to do. They have a small tram that will take you up to the top, for a price. So decide if you want to huff and puff all the way to the top. You can't quit mid way.

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