This famous Roman-Byzantyne style white- domed catholic church is situated on the top of the Montmartre hill, is the highest point in the city of Paris. Its construction began in 1875 (designed by Paul Abadie) and completed in 1914 but was consecrated only after the end of World War I.
The basilica is built of a special kind of lime stone called Travertine deposited by mineral springs. The unique chemical properties of the stone which gives out a substance called calcite upon reaction with rainwater, acts like a bleach and helps to withstand pollution, keeping the white colour of the basilica.
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Metro (subway) lines to take: line 2 (M2) and get down at Anvers OR line 12 (M12) and get off at station Abbesses. You have to walk for few minutes from either of the above metro stations to get to the bottom of Montmartre. From the bottom of the hill, you can either climb the steps or take the small funicular train which is covered by a metro ticket.
Opening times: Basilica is open for prayer and sightseeing every day from 6am till 10:30pm (free entry)
Dome opening times: 08:30 am -8pm (May-September)
09:00am-5pm (October- April)
Opening times may vary according to weather conditions and you have to purchase a ticket. The entrance to the dome is outside of the basilica on the left side.
(Remember! you have to climb 234 spiral steps!! but if you can make it, you will get spectacular panoramic view of Paris)
Things to remember:
- Wear sensible shoes!! a lot of walking and a lot of steps to climb. Also it can be very cold on the top of the hill during winter.
- There is an app you can download called TUPUY which gives free audio tour for the basilica but you have to create account and log in to get it.
- Dress appropriately and keep silence as there is ongoing mass and adoration throughout the day. Don’t forget to light a candle and say a prayer 🙂
- After visiting the church, pause for few minutes, sit down at the forecourt of the basilica and enjoy the wonderful view of Paris. (If you are visiting dome, it is said that you get to see up to 30km of the surroundings on a clear day!!)
- It is very crowded place, Beware of the pick-pocketers and souvenir sellers!!
- Not many people know that there is also another historic church on the Montmartre hill called ‘The Church of Saint Peter of Montmartre’. Founded by Saint Denis and dated back to third century by the archaeologists, this is one of the oldest surviving churches in Paris. It is believed that Saint Ignatius Loyola made vows to establish the Jesuit order of priests here in 1534. This church was rebuilt in the 19th century and is almost not known since the popularity of Sacre-Coeur but if you are interested and have time in your hand, why not visit this hidden gem of history?