Travel

Basilique du Sacre Cœur – the main cathedral of Montmartre

Dear friends, we already had time to acquaint you with many sights of Paris in our articles, however it is possible to speak about this city eternally as its diversity is really boundless. Today we offer a small sketch about one more remarkable place which should be visited while in the French capital.

Paris – the magnificent city which differs from other by its unique architecture to admire infinitely. If you want to estimate it from the big height, to see its scope – do it the way many tourists do by means of such remarkable constructions as Tour Eiffel or tour Montparnasse, and in this article we will talk about one more place for supervision over Paris from height.

To see the whole magnitude of Paris, we advise to visit the ornament of Montmartre – Basilique du Sacre Cœur – “sacred heart” from French.

In brief, about this remarkable place. For this purpose we should return to the past (more precisely to the end of the nineteenth century) when the country suffered not the best moment: constant defeats in wars, the most serious political and economic crises, explosive condition of the society. Many Frenchmen prayed God with only one question “what are we suffering for?” and prayers for salvation.

And in this difficult situation a businessman Alexandre Legentil has vowed to the Lord about building of a grandiose cathedral which in its opinion should help to rescue France from ill fate. It was only necessary to be defined with a place of the future building.

And the choice has fallen on the Grand Opéra which was recently a symbol of the French success and prosperity, and at that time – an indicator of awful decline. The given decision has not been apprehended unequivocally in the society, and after long polemic this place has been rejected. However the patron of art did not surrender and has achieved the right to erect church on Montmartre (at its most top) – a place well-known and popular among Parisians.

Among seventy eight projects the offer of architect Paul Abadie has been chosen. He has suggested building a cathedral in quite unusual for Paris Roman-Byzantine architectural style. The building has been constructed of strong calcareous breed, and has risen up on eighty three meters.

Singularity of new church was characterized by the extended domes, repeating a silhouette of a well-known Basilica of the twelfth century Saint-Front, located in Périgueux.

Behind the cathedral a bell tower has settled down. It has become famous for one of the hugest bells in the Christian world which weight makes twenty tons. It has been presented by inhabitants of the province of Savoie, for as has received the name of la Savoyarde.

A huge staircase runs to the main façade which is decorated by a portico along the edges of which statues of national heroine Jeanne d’Arc and king Saint Louis are installed.

From within the cathedral has been magnificently decorated with mosaic, stained-glass windows which, unfortunately, have been destroyed during the Second World War. The building work was extremely uneasy, so the cathedral erection lasted long enough, the first divine services have taken place in 1891 year only (the beginning of works is dated 1875 year). The cult of Sacre Cœur has been entered into France by queen Catherine de Médicis in the seventeenth century. From the church point of view it represents a symbol of heart Dominical, stroked with a spear at crucifixion of the Savior and at all times bleeding for the blessing of men.

At consecration the cathedral has received the rank of a Basilica which on Christian terminology speaks about pilgrim mission. And since then thousand of believing pilgrims aspire to Montmartre.

Since the construction, the relation of Parisians to Basilique du Sacre Cœur varied causing irony, genuine admiration. But, nevertheless, at present it is one of cards of Montmartre and Paris, a place from which the unique view on this great city opens.