Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sacre Coeur Basilic

OK, not very original, but once in a while I think I can show a little "I was there" kinda picture. For if you have been to Paris you could not (and if you come one day, you will not...) miss Montmartre, a little hill on the north of the city. And at the top of Montmartre guess what there is? A church!
What makes the Sacre Coeur (it's its name!) interesting is that it's pretty recent (they started building it in 1875, completed it in 1919 in 1910 and inaugurated it in 1919) and its architecture is really different; that is nothing at all like the Gothic or Roman style but more Byzantine like the ones you find in Turkey, for instance. Very - I am talking very! - touristy there, but there is a good reason for that: it's beautiful!


  1. In my humble opinion, the ugliest monument in Paris. It has been built for the sole purpose of attracting tasteless tourists and leave some breathing room to Parisians. And in the end, it works pretty well.

  2. I remember studying the inside of the Sacre Coeur in my Art History classes.

    When I went to Paris in 2000, I remember hearing a story about a man who was beheaded in front of the Church (or near the Church), and after his head fell off, he stood up, headless, picked up his head, and ran up the steps of the Church where he collapsed, dead.

    I'd never heard the story before and I had a hard time believing it (who wouldn't?). Have you heard this story? Maybe I have the city wrong... maybe it wasn't Paris.

    I like this picture... I love the shadow play.

  3. > LOL Anonymous. Well that is a bit far fetched, but well, not totally untrue!!

    > Lissa you're right, the legend says that Saint Denis was beheaded there and walk around with his head under the arm... Well, I am afraid it's a legend!! What is interesting however is that the name Montmartre was actually given to this hill to honour Martyrs (mount of the Martyrs= Montmartre). There is a lot to show in Montmartre and I will definitly show you more in the days to come...

  4. Another reason why I love your site, Eric. Yes, it's a typical "touristy" subject, but it is a beautiful photo nonetheless.
    I hope you don't object, but I have made it my newest desktop background. It really is lovely. I can't believe I actually said "lovely". ;-)

  5. Bonjour,

    1° May I discreetly suggest some correction to what has been written on this post ?
    The decision to erect a basilica was taken in 1873 as an act of repentance for the killings that happened during the atheist Commune de Paris (1871) and certainly not for the sole purpose of attracting tasteless tourists as (wrongly) indicated above.
    2° The construction was terminated in 1910 (not 1919) with the campanile by Lucien Magne. It was in 1919 - just after the war was over - that the "consecration" took place.

    Yours is a beautiful site that commands congratulation. You sure will soon show us a picture of the forthcoming Musée des Arts Premiers by Jean Nouvel (due to open next year) that certainly will be the 4th most important museum in Paris after le Louvre, Orsay and Beaubourg.
    have a good day


  6. >There is a lot to show in >Montmartre and I will definitly >show you more in the days to >come...

    Please do!

  7. > Flocon thanks very much for this precision; I updated my caption.

    > I will Lissa, I will!

  8. you didnt say from where you took this picture ?

    i like the shadow line, in the middle.

    sacre coeur is definitely a must-see. i remember once i went there with a swedish friend (a tasteless tourist?). the inside of the chapel was dark as ever. but some sunlight was entering the place through a vitrail, and precisely lighting some points of a painting of Jesus. it felt like a typical rembrandt, and you could feel God was around. it marked me for life.

  9. > Waouh! To think that god almost visited you... ;))
    I took this photo from the top of the Beaubourg center. An dthe shadow is a REAL shadow, not a Photoshop one!

  10. >Floski. Of course not! Please use my photos wherever you want! And thank you for the compliment.

  11. À mon tour, Eric, may I suggest a light correction : the Sacré Cœur's architecture could (should ?) be linked to the "roman poitevin" style more than to byzantine. A good exampl of it is the Notre-Dame la Grande cathedral, in Poitiers (

  12. >GG. You surely may, but I don't see the relationship between the Roman Poitevin style and the Sacré Choeur?

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