Sacre-Coeur Basilica

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The history and architecture of Montmartre's Sacré-Cœur

With its stunning façade, impressive interior, and breathtaking views over Paris, the "Sacred Heart" is as popular among locals as it is tour groups. Here are a few interesting facts to help better understand its relationship with the city.

  • Construction began after the Franco-Prussian War

    1. Construction began after the Franco-Prussian War

    With the French defeated, Bishop Fournier claimed God had punished the country for "a century of moral decline" since the revolution. The basilica was built to expiate Paris' sins!

  • It watched over a most rebellious neighborhood

    2. It watched over a most rebellious neighborhood

    Paris' highest point didn't always swarm with tourists and bohemians. Its original abbey was razed during the revolution, and the site later saw the Paris Commune uprising in 1871.

  • Construction finished in 1914

    3. Construction finished in 1914

    Though the foundation stone was laid in 1875, the basilica took 29 years to build. With the outbreak of the First World War, the building wasn't consecrated until 1919.

  • It was designed in response to the Palais Garnier

    4. It was designed in response to the Palais Garnier

    Paul Abadie's Romano-Byzantine-influenced design was unusual at the time, but it was intended to counter the unabashed opulence of Paris' recently built opera house.

  • An extinct species was discovered on the site

    5. An extinct species was discovered on the site

    During the digging of its unusually deep foundations, a tooth was found and later identified as that of Palaeotherium – a previously undiscovered species of prehistoric tapir!

Planning Your Visit

  • Booking tickets

    Access to the Sacré-Cœur is free! A tour can help you make the most of your visit, but note that, as a sanctuary for religious worship, guided tour groups aren't allowed inside the chapels.

  • What are the opening times?

    The Sacré-Cœur is open to visitors between the hours of 8:00AM and 8:00PM from May to September, and 9:00AM and 5:00PM from October to April.
    Mass is held from Monday to Friday at 7:00AM, 11:15AM, 3:00PM (Friday only), 6:30PM, and 10:00PM. Weekend times are 7:00AM, 11:00AM, 6:00PM (Sunday only), and 10:00PM.

  • How to get there?

    The easiest way to reach the Sacré-Cœur is by taking the Metro line 2 to Anvers. From there it is just a short walk to the funicular car, should the scenic walk through the hill's steep gardens appear too daunting! The hill can also be reached by bus routes 30, 31, 80, and 85.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open daily 8:00AM to 8:00PM in the summer, 9:00AM to 5:00PM in the winter.
  • Is it expensive?
    The Sacré-Cœur is free to visit!
  • Will I need a guide?
    Definitely, although the tours cannot go inside the chapels. Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Take the Metro line 2 to Anvers and walk or take the funicular car up, or take buses 30, 31, 80 or 85.
  • Additional information
    Be aware of your surroundings and your belongings in crowded areas. | If you can, save your visit for a clear day, when views over the city are incredible!

What people are saying about Sacre-Coeur Basilica

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,360 reviews

Lovely Tour, only four people which made it very quaint and meant you could chat away at your own pace. We had Arno as our guide and he was great, very knowledgable and tailored the drop off point at the end to where we were staying and wanted to go next. Very interesting and got to try a lot of different foods and wine whilst also being quite slow paced so not difficult to take pictures and stop and look at what you wanted to. Would highly recommend for all ages.

This was our first trip to Paris, and we are so glad we booked this tour! Montmartre is a memorable place, with all it’s charming restaurants, boulangeries, chocolate shops, cafes, and other specialty shops. We loved walking around the hilly streets soaking in all the history. Our guide, Arno, made it such a fun experience as he introduced us to local shop owners and we sampled the unforgettable desserts, pastries, cheese and wine. I highly recommend this tour!

The bus ride was super with a very detailed audio, I had a problem getting a bus stop but as soon as i go the local partner on chat they quickly directed me to the next stop and I hoped in, also make sure when you alight you have your 1 hr cruise tickets, i did not pick mine but got them again through the help of the chat services, if you love the Paris night lights take a booking that later in the evening.

This is a really nice way to see areas that would may not stumble across if you walked around yourself. The story was cute as a couple and we got some lovely pictures. We stopped for a drink on the way and felt no pressure to finish the quest, it was just a bit of fun. My partner enjoyed it as an early birthday gift during our trip.

It’s a must do activity! Makes you see the hidden gems of Montmartre!! I just love the way the clues help you discover different side of Paris!! An amazing lovers activity! A brilliant Customer support As well! Thanks Alex!!