The best time to visit Sacré-Coeur is early morning or early evening - and preferably not on a Sunday, when the crowds are thick. If you're coming to worship, there are daily masses.
It’s difficult not feel as though you’re climbing the stairway to heaven when you visit this basilica. The French government commissioned it to represent the return of their self-confidence in 1873: the devastating preceding years of the Commune and the Franco-Prussian War had made their mark on the Parisian psyche. You’ll notice elements from Romanesque and Byzantine styles in its appearance — a mixture many critics of the time dismissed as naff. Today, the Sacré-Coeur and the surrounding area are a destination for young couples, tourists and, of course, those who still use it as a church.
Most people come to Sacré-Coeur to admire the extraordinary view from the top of its 83 metre dome; added to its situation 130 metres above sea level, this makes it the second-highest point in Paris after the Eiffel Tower.
On the inside there’s another visual treat— a massive golden mosaic, created in 1922 by Luc-Olivier Merson, sits high above the choir. Also worth noting are the portico’s bronze doors decorated with biblical scenes, the vaulted arches in the crypt and the stained-glass windows. One of the world’s heaviest bells hangs high up in the campanile; La Savoyarde weighs about 19 tons.
For any budding photographers, on clear blue-sky days it’s possible to take amazing photos in the evening, the white of the basilica standing out against the pink and blue of the evening sky.
For those who prefer to avoid walking up, there is a funicular which accepts metro tickets.
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