Le Sacré-Coeur

The Sacré-Coeur is a white basilica perched atop Montmartre, with a stunning view of Paris below.

TravelCurious Tip

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.

The Sacred Heart

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.

A view to die for

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.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Saint-Pierre de Montmartre
An unsung gem of a medieval church, Saint-Pierre started life in the 12th century as a renowned women's monastery.
Moulin de la Galette
A windmill in the historic Montmartre district that has been immortalised in works by Renoir and Van Gogh.
The Mona Lisa
There’s little that can be said about the world's most famous painting that hasn’t been said before. But don’t miss it...
The Victory of Samothrace
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a must-see in the Louvre: a paradigm of Greek beauty, the archetype of Hellenistic sculpture.
A vibrant and artistic neighbourhood once home to Renoir and Gauguin, offering spectacular views over the city.
Moulin Rouge
An iconic venue opened in the late 19th century, credited with the invention of the can-can dance.

Related Tours

Private Bohemian Montmartre Walking Tour: Home of the Artists
Uncover the history and art of a quintessentially Parisian neighbourhood on this walking tour. 

  • Explore bohemian Montmartre, the home of world-renowned artists, including Picasso and Renoir.
  • See Sacré CoeurVan Gogh’s former home and the city's last vineyard.
  • See the home of the Moulin Rouge.
  • Experience some of the best panoramic views of Paris from the top of the hill.
Bohemian Paris

In this fascinating walking tour of Montmartre, you will be immersed in Paris' most bohemian and intriguing neighbourhood, whilst exploring this unique enclave of the city. You will see first hand where some of the world’s most influential painters including Renoir, Picasso and Van Gogh, lived and worked on this beautiful hill towering above Paris. 

You will also have the pleasure of discovering the windmills and many monuments for which this area is famous. A highlight undoubtedly will be paying a visit to the famous  the Moulin Rouge, as well as traversing the highest point in Paris at the gleaming white Sacré-Cœur Basilica. 

Sacré-Cœur: Worship and War

Built in the 19th century in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and the chaotic Paris Commune, the Sacré-Cœur emerged to become a symbol of the struggle between the conservative Catholic establishment and the secular republic radicals. Your expert city guide will explain the complex history of Montmartre, a place of devout worship spanning from the Druids of ancient Gaul right up to today. Make sure you have your camera as you are sure to be rewarded by a spectacular picture-perfect view of Paris below.
Central Paris & Bohemian Montmartre: Full Day Highlights
Uncover the history and art of the quintessentially Parisian neighbourhoods on this tour.

  • Begin crossing onto Île de la Cité.
  • Pass into the Latin Quarter. Explore its colourful streets and back alleys.
  • Amble through The Louvre courtyards, The Tuileries gardens & Place de la Concorde.
  • Travel by metro to bohemian Montmartre, ascend to the highest point in Paris.
  • See the Sacré Coeur, Van Gogh’s former home and the city's last Vineyard.
  • Get well acquainted with the city's topography -  all neighbourhoods and attractions in walking distance.
Begin your walking tour at the medieval Île de la Cité. This small island on the Seine is the most ancient point in Paris. Explore its crooked streets and marvel at Notre Dame's intricate interior and exterior. Pass over the famous ‘love locks bridge’ and into the Latin Quarter. Uncover its most flavoursome streets and treasures. Next reach the Louvre, marvel at the architecture and explore its numerous beautiful courtyards. Then pass through the Tuileries Gardens to the Place de la Concorde, the famous execution site of Louis XVI during the French Revolution. 

The second part of your tour takes you to the bohemian Montmartre neighbourhood. By metro you will quickly arrive at the steps of the Sacré Coeur. Ascend by tram or foot to the highest point in the city and take in the most spectacular, panoramic views. Explore Montmartre's vibrant streets, where artists and craftsmen sell their work. See where Vincent Van Gogh resided as a young man, and visit the last remaining vineyard in Paris. Finish the tour seeing the famous Moulin Rouge and its iconic neon windmill.
Private Walking Tour of Montmartre with a Parisian
Travel isn’t just about travel, it’s people, faces, food and cultures, fresh perspectives, discoveries and different ways of life - it’s about uncovering the city’s soul. It’s about connection. On your private, guided tour of Paris with a local: 

  • Enjoy meaningful insights from a local Parisian
  • Hear how locals describe Paris - the experiences that have shaped their worldview of their own city.
  • Spend a few hours walking around bohemian Montmartre with a private, local guide.
  • Wander down the streets where Renoir, Picasso, and Van Gogh each called home for a season.
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, tips and reassurance as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets of this charming neighborhood. 
  • Grab a glass of wine or coffee at your local’s favorite sidewalk cafe. 
Learn first-hand what locals love about Paris from someone who knows the place inside-out.
Paris evokes romantic visions of intimate bistro tete-a-tetes to the melodic strains of accordion music. While Napoleon didn’t ask designer Georges Haussman to create a City of Love, for many people world-wide Paris is just that. Why? Few cities are so beautifully cared for - from the wide, leafy boulevards and pretty cobbled courtyards to carefully-preserved historic sites. Part of the seduction is UNESCO-protected Paris, home to the iconic Eiffel Tower, Louvre, the Sacré Coeur, and Arc de Triomphe. The city has a style obsession, with Parisian culture ingrained by Haute couture idols Chanel, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent - to name a few from a lengthy list. Today as a fashion capital, Paris is generously endowed with life’s finest things: museums, art, cultural treasures, perfumeries, grand gardens, galleries and chic boutiques. Equally highly-prize is food with everything served with Parisian panache - be it bœuf à la Bourguignonne or a baguette. To truly be part of Paris, though, it must be experienced with a local. 

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local will help you discover the sights that tourists so often miss. Hear the intriguing backstories and learn the neighbourhood contextual backstories and neighborhood rumors which bring Paris’ Montmartre district to life. There are no substitutes for anecdotes and first-hand insight – which is why we’ve built this tour: so that you a Parisian can help you side-step the inauthentic and cliche imitations of true Paris. Experience the humor, subtle nuances of Parisian manners, the social conventions and psyche of a place over a glass of house wine or coffee, and then jot down your guide’s version of the real “must do Paris.” 


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