Sacre-Cœur is a Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. In the midst of delays in assembling the property, the foundation stone was finally laid on the 16th of June 1875.
Passionate debates concerning the Basilica were raised in the Counsel Municipal in 1880, where the Basilica was called “an incessant provocation to civil war” and it was debated whether to rescind the law of 1873 granting property rights, an impracticable proposition.
The matter reached the Chamber of Deputies in the summer of 1882, in which the Basilica was defended by Archbishop Gilbert while Georges Clemenceau argued that it sought to stigmatize the Revolution.
The law was rescinded, but the Basilica was saved by a technicality and the bill was not reintroduced in the next session. Construction costs, estimated at 7 million French francs and drawn entirely from private donations, were expended before any above-ground visible structure was to be seen.
A provisional chapel was consecrated on the 3rd of March 1876, and pilgrimage donations quickly became the mainstay of funding.
Since 1885, the Blessed Sacrament (a consecrated host which, according to Church teaching, has become by the consecration of the priest Christ’s Body and Blood during Mass) has been continually on display in a monstrance above the high altar.
Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has continued uninterrupted in the Basilica since 1885. The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a cult that gained popularity after 1873, when the first pilgrimage was organized to Paray-le-Monial in Burgundy.
It was there that revelations encouraging prayer to Christ’s sacred heart had been reported in the 17th century. Designed by Paul Abadie in a Romanesque-Byzantine architectural style, the Sacré-Coeur was inspired by St-Front in Perigueux (Dordogne), a multi-domed Romanesque church the architect had recently restored.
A climb to the top of the dome provides an excellent view of Paris – at 271 feet above Montmartre it is the second-highest viewpoint after the Eiffel Tower – and the walk around the inside of the dome alone is worth the climb. The dome is supported by 80 columns, each topped with a different capital.
Since 1885, when it was partially built, the Blessed Sacrament (a consecrated host which Catholics believe is turned into the body and blood of Jesus Christ during a Mass) has been continually on display in a monstrance above the high altar. Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has continued uninterrupted in the Basilica since 1885.
Construction of the Basilica started in 1876 with Abadie as the lead architect. When Paul Abadie died in 1884, he was succeeded by Lucien Magne, who added an 83 meter (272 ft) tall clock tower. The Savoyarde clock installed here is one of the worlds largest.
Due to its location on the Montmartre hill, the basilica towers over the city; its highest point is even higher than the top of the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to this prominent location the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is one of the most noticeable landmarks in Paris.
Sacré Coeur is built of Chateau-Landon (Seine-et-Marne) stone, a frost-resistant travertine that constantly weathers out its calcite, so that it bleaches with age to a chalky whiteness.