Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur)#6 in Best Things To Do in Paris
Rising high above Paris, the Sacré-Coeur (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 Roman-Byzantine masterpiece is easily recognized by its 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 France's largest mosaic, which depicts Jesus rising alongside the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc.
You'll also likely be left in awe with the panoramic views found from atop the Sacré-Coeur's outdoor staircase. But for an even better photo op, climb all 300 steps to the top of the dome. The dome is accessible to visitors every day from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. from May to September, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October to April. Mass is held multiple times a day every day.
While the Sacre-Coeur does receive its fair share of crowds, travelers say braving the many tourists was worth it. Visitors found the church to be magnificent and although some admit it's tempting to just stay outside and admire the views of Paris, travelers strongly recommend exploring the church's stunning interiors. Travelers also suggested making a trek during sunset and if you stick around long enough, you'll be able to see the Eiffel Tower's sparkling lights illuminate the skyline. Though if you can't fit that in your schedule, carve out some time to explore the charming Montmartre neighborhood, especially the Place du Tertre, a public square.
You can reach the Sacré-Coeur from the Anvers metro stop on line 2; from there, you can ride the funicular up the mountain to the basilica. But to truly experience Montmartre's magical atmosphere, climb the neighborhood's winding stone, located next to the funicular. The Sacré-Cœur opens its doors to visitors every day from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and admission is free. Visit the basilica's website for more information.
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#1 Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
Note that the cathedral sustained significant damage as a result of a fire on April 15, 2019. Its wooden roof and spire collapsed during the fire. It remains closed until further notice.
Like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen as a Parisian icon. Located right along the picturesque River Seine, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is often regarded as one of the best Gothic cathedrals of its kind in the world. Construction of the famous cathedral started in the late 10th century and final touches weren't made until nearly 200 years later. And once you get an eyeful of the cathedral yourself, you'll start to understand why it took so long.
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