The Sacré-Coeur basilica was built by the French Catholics to commemorate the 58.000 people who perished in the French-German war between 1870 and 1871.
The first stone was placed in 1875, but it took until 1914 for the church to be finished. They chose to build it on the Montmartre hill, so it would be visible from far and wide. It is dedicated to worship the Scared Heart, part of Roman Catholicism that honours the heart of Jesus.
Building the structure didn’t go smoothly, the original architect Paul Abadie died in 1884 when only the foundations had been laid. It proved to be an immense task, requiring 83 pits of each 45 metres deep to re-enforce the ground it was built on.
His work was taken over by Lucien Magne, who designed a bell tower of 84 meters high that was added to the original design. This touch created a mix of Roman and Byzantine styles to the building.
You can visit this basilica, which is located in the arts quarter of Montmartre. Do note: it can get quite busy here, especially in peak season and the weekends. It’s a good idea to go in the morning, or at night when you can experience the cosy atmosphere in the area and see the lights in the basilica.
More information: www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com