The Basilica of the Sacré Cœur dominates the Paris skyline and when you see it from wherever you may have chosen to stand for a panoramic view of Paris you KNOW immediately that it is a MUST SEE.
Not only is Sacré Coeur beautiful but it stands as an important monument to the Christian faith. It is also a site that is different from all the other tourist areas of the city.
In Sacré Coeur photos and videos are very strictly forbidden at any time. Though many (like myself) manage to go somewhat incognito in an effort to capture the beauty of the altar for the sake of this blog.
This church, despite being a tourist attraction, sticks to a strict regime in that they are first an active CHURCH and that those obligations prevail over the curiosities of tourists. This is greatly contrast with the likes of Notre Dame and other cathedrals of Paris where the tourism is the basis of the churches existence and though mass still takes places in the church it is still a tourist attraction. This attitude is a very important one regarding the history of the church. Beginning after the French revolution when people of a catholic spirit were associated with an affinity for the monarchy, Sacré Coeur was founded “It is here, where the martyrs are, it is here that the Sacred Heart must reign so that it can beckon all to come”. The geographic position of the church and the attitude that it upholds today reflects the idea that this was a place for worship, removed from the outside world it even stands as another world over the less-than-holy (but still very fun) quartier below.
I was very humbled to attend the noon mass at the Cathedral and can tell you that it is very worth attending even if you are not a Catholic or a believer.
Notes for tourist:
There are over 300 steps that lead up to Sacré Coeur and they are a GREAT walk with many artists and people sitting in the sun along the way. But it you can’t make the climb the city of Montmartre has an EXCELENT installation for you. On the west side of the Basilica the city has put in a somewhat of a gondola that brings you practically to the top. This ride will cost you nothing more than a metro ticket or a swipe of your handy-dandy Navigo pass.
Proper dress is required and absolute silence is asked of visitors in respects for those who have come to pray at this blessed sight.