Inside the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

Sacre Coeur Architecture 2-min

The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic basilica that rests atop of Butte Montmartre, the highest point in all of Paris. A popular monument for visitors, it is visible from nearly any point in Paris (including my terrace!). Although not religious myself, I decided to visit Sacré-Cœur during my walk through Montmartre in order to admire the beautiful views from the dome and the Romano-Byzantine architecture, something that was quite unusual when the basilica was built in the early 20th century.

While everyone alse was focused on getting inside, just before entering the basilica, I decided to look up. The photo below gives a neat perspective on the vaulted entrance.

Sacre Coeur Architecture 1-min

The biggest feature and the centre focus of the basilica is its huge central dome. Stained glass windows surround it, along with archways and intricate carvings. There was also a decorative script carved into the stone above the windows, which I believe was in Latin, although I could not be certain.

Sacre Coeur Architecture 3-min

Since I took a course on stained glass in high school, I always appreciate the workmanship that goes into these windows. Not only do you need to create one shape, but the shape next to it must be perfectly matched or else problems begin to snowball. Typically French, one window is focused on the theme of wine.

Sacre Coeur Architecture 5-min

There were numerous stained glass windows in the typical themes of the bible, but stained glass can be very tricky to photograph in the dim lighting of religious buildings.

Sacre Coeur Architecture 4-min

Sacre Coeur Architecture 8-min






The most striking feature to me about Sacré-Cœur is the use of mosaics all throughout the structure. This was very typical of Byzantine architecture, but would have stood out in contrast to the Art Nouveau architecture of the time.






Sacre Coeur Architecture 6-min



While the blue and gold is certainly luxurious, it was reserved only for the wells of holy water. The rest of the mosaics revolved around themes of flowers, like the pink flowers above, the olive branches to the right and the daisies and vines below. The work involved in cutting and placing each piece would have been immense, especially on such a grand scale.
Sacre Coeur Architecture 7-min

Just as I was photographing the last mosaic, a priest approached me about confession. I thanked him politely but declined. I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for my tendency of visiting religious buildings only to indulge myself in the beauty of them all.


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