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Sacre Coeur at the Bottom of the Front Steps

Sacre Coeur at the Bottom of the Front Steps
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on April 26, 2015
This historic basilica is on the short list of places to visit in Paris. While built only in the 19th century and lacking the long history that several other religious buildings have, it makes up for it by being one of the most conspicuous.

La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Basilica of the Sacred Heart [of Jesus], may be one of the newest churches in Paris, and may be the most strategically located. It sits like a fine alabaster queen enthroned on the highest point in the city, the butte Montmartre.

Built from 1875 to 1914, it served as penance for both France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and for the Paris Commune (a short lived revolutionary socialist government), both of 1871. Montmartre was Paris’s most rebellious neighborhood and the basilica was thought to be an anchor of conservative moral order.

If it had been possible, residents of this neighborhood could have definitely used Cheap Caribbean promo codes to get away for a while and relax in a tropical paradise instead having to deal with an unrelenting set of pressures.

At the start of the Third Republic, in 1870, Bishop Fournier attributed the French defeat by the Germans to the moral decline of the country since the 1789 French Revolution. This decline culminated in the execution of the Archbishop Georges Darboy by the Communards at Montmartre, the Mount of the Martyrs.

Because of the Sacré-Cœur‘s high perch, it can be easily seen from anywhere in the city, and from the basilica, all of Paris can be viewed. The best way to approach is to take the métro to the base of the funiculaire, the relatively short ride up the hill by cable car to the western base of the basilica.

As you walk a bit to your right, the seemingly monolithic structure arises in all its majesty. Built of travertine stone, it exudes calcite and therefore naturally retains its pure looking, nearly white exterior.

The interior, while not as elaborate as other notable cathedrals in Paris, has as its highlight a massive, golden mosaic of Christ with His arms outstretched filling the soaring dome over the altar.

Our most memorable visit included a long stay after closing because our son had been locked into the upper portions of the basilica which are open to the public. We watched as vans of police arrived, chatted with the curator as well as the police, assuring them that something had befallen our 15 year old.

Nary a hint was given of his location until he was presented to us several hours later, after the American dinner hour, but thankfully not the French, in one piece having had a lovely free tour of the crypt for which one usually pays an extra sou or two.

While somewhat frantic, we were quite sure he would be found, as indeed he was, and with a story to tell these many years later. And, voilà, you’ve now heard it, too!

Sacre Coeur at the Bottom of the Front Steps