Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur)
- Type: Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Rising high above Paris, the Sacré-Cœur (meaning "Sacred Heart") looks more like a white castle than a basilica—but that's what it is. Towering over the eclectic neighborhood of Montmartre (once a hangout for Paris' Bohemian crowd), this 19th-century masterpiece is easily recognized by it's ornate ivory domes. As blanched as it may appear on the outside, the basilica's interior is a sight worth beholding: The ceilings glitter with gold, red, and blue mosaic images of Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, and St. Michael the Archangel.
You'll fall in love with the panoramic views from the Sacré-Cœur's steep staircase, but for an even better photo op, climb to the top of the dome. The dome is accessible to visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter. You can also tour the Sacré-Cœur's crypt, though opening hours vary.
You can reach the Sacré-Cœur from the Anvers metro stop; from there, you can ride the funicular up the mountain to the basilica, but to truly experience Montmartre's artistic atmosphere, recent travelers recommend climbing the neighborhood's winding staircases. Just be sure to bring sturdy shoes! The Sacré-Cœur opens its doors to visitors every day from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and admission is free. (Consider an evening visit so that you can watch the Eiffel Tower's sparkling lights illuminate the skyline.) Visit the basilica's website for more information.