The Sacre Coeur Basilica
The Sacre Coeur Basilica, or known as the full name of Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmarte is noticeable from nearly everywhere in Paris, standing on top of a hill within the Montmartre area which is 129 metres above sea level.
Montmartre, which translated means hill of martyres, which in turn leads back to the martyrdom of Saint Denis, who happened to the be the first bishop of Paris all the way back in the 3rd century has since then had many saints visit this hill, including that of Saint Germain and Joan of Arc.
No matter which way you are entering Paris, whether it be by road on the Peripherique ring road around Paris, one of the train stations including via the Eurostar, or even a flight this monument is one of the few you will be able to see almost instantly.
One reason for that is that the monument stands at the second highest point within Paris, the only other being the most well known tourist attraction in Paris, the Eiffel tower which holds the highest point in the city.
The monument can also be spotted form various other tourist attractions, including that of the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Pompidou Centre and much more while on holiday in Paris, but thanks to the impressive height the Sacre Coeur Basilica is at, when you go to visit it you can enjoy a great view over Paris.
However if you want even more of a fantastic view you can venture to the top of the Sacre Coeur Basilica and visit the dome which is 200m above sea level, which on a clear day can let you see the panorama as far as 50km away.
The Sacre Coeur Basilica is not just a monument in the city, but also a renowned place of worship, with people taking pilgrimages to visit this place of worship and masses being help daily.
Numerous people every day go to the Sacre Coeur Basilica to pray, for both the prayer of adoration and the prayer to the Sacred Heart, or you can take part in a confession and in addition to all those you can also share your prayer intentions or ask for a candle to be lit for you.
But with the monument so high up, getting there can be a trip in itself, but fear not as there are numerous different ways to gain access to the basilica.
First you can arrive by bus lines 30, 31, 80 and 85, the nearest stop being at the base of the hill, and from there it takes an extra twenty minutes to reach the top after travelling up many steps.
If you prefer a train you can arrive on the Metro at the Jules Joffrin Metro station and from there take a bus to the top of the mountain, or for the more fit walk.
If you want a more direct route you can choose the Montmartrobus that runs from Place Pigalle to the top of the hill and by Place du Tertre before heading down the other side to Place Jules Jofferin and back and these smaller buses run roughly ever fifteen to thirty minutes.
And in addition to the previous ways there is also a funicular (a cable car) which is the same price as a Metro ticket. Unfortunately it does not start at the very bottom and neither finishes to the very top so some step negotiating is still required if you choose this option. And even though there can be a queue during the height of season it can quickly go down as it runs every few minutes.
The Sacre Coeur Basilica is open daily from as early at 6am and to 10:30pm, the last possible visits being thirty minutes before closure.
Yet if you want to enjoy a fantastic view and climb up to the Dome you can only do this from 9am to 6pm in winter and 7pm in summer. On top of that you can also visit the crypt, but the times for that are more variable and thus it is always an idea to check first before going.
In addition to that you can also attend Mass, which on a weekday are conducted at 11:15am, 6:30pm, and 10pm. On a Friday there is an additional Mass with a time of adoration or Eucharistic procession. And on a Sunday there is a Solemn Mass at 11am, 6pm and at 10pm.
Confessions are held daily between 10am and midday, between 2:30pm and 6pm and finally at 8:30pm and 10pm.
Finally on top of the services and view there are also special events that take place during holy weeks, such as the week of Easter, Christmas and more along with a shop and religious book shop which opens daily from 9:30am and 5:30pm which you can look around and buy from.
So if you want to visit the Sacre Coeur Basilica for the services, the view or just for an experience, you are not going to be disappointed when you go on holiday in Paris.
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