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To understand Sacré-Coeur you have to know the context of the time. Paris came to lose in 1870 Franco-Prussian war, Napoleon III had been overthrown and to pay the war damages France had to raise taxes. This strongly affected the poorer class, who between March and May 1871 organized the Paris Commune.

You have to imagine the events. President Thiers ruled from Versailles and Paris did not accept yet the resignation against the Prussians. People climb the hills and arm themselves and a movement of anarchists and communists is established in Montmartre. The army climbs the hill to recover the cannons that the people had at their disposal but the troops disobey the generals, shoot them and the commune explodes.

The ending is dramatic. Thiers exterminates all the rebels, shooting thousands of “communards”. Then, a conservative movement led by Alexandre Legentil proposes to build a basilica on top of the hill to atone for the sins of the people. The project was voted and narrowly won in parliament. And the Sacré-Coeur begins, a Church paid by the Catholic faithful where each family paid for a stone.

Its style is Romanesque-Byzantine, since the form is of Greek cross and its aspect of strength. The stone comes from a province, Château-Landon, which has the peculiarity that when it comes into contact with water a chemical reaction makes it clean and white. Inside it has the largest mosaic in the world on the roof. It begins in 1875 and is completed in 1914 but it was inaugurated in 1919.



The dome is open for tourists and gives a spectacular panoramic view of Paris, which is to the south of the basilica.

Pratical Information

Opening Hours

Open every day from 6 a.m. to 22:30 p.m.


Free. 6€ to go to the dome


Metro: Anvers (Line 2)
35, rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 18th District. Paris.