travel: paris – sacre-coeur

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is set on the highest point in Montmartre. As I visited it on the last day of our European adventure last year I thought it a beautiful end to a magical time. It’s contrast to the Palais Garnier was refreshing. That – and I just have a thing for being up high. If I were a bird I would definitely be one of those who perch at the highest point to watch the world below.
img_4938Wikipedia says “The inspiration for Sacré Cœur’s design originated on September 4, 1870, the day of the proclamation of the Third Republic, with a speech by Bishop Fournier attributing the defeat of French troops during the Franco-Prussian War to a divine punishment after “a century of moral decline” since the French Revolution, in the wake of the division in French society that arose in the decades following that revolution.” Reading the rest of the history in that article reminds me of how closely tied religions and governments have been in many countries and how much I appreciate religious freedom and tolerance of diversity that are codified in the American constitution. (No matter how badly people and politicians might mangle the practice of the idea.)

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It was quite the hike to just get to the base of the Basilica, but every view and every plateau was a reward.

img_4942“Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon(Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution.”

img_4939“A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, created by Luc-Olivier Merson, is among the largest in the world.”

img_4943“Though today the Basilica is asserted[5][when?] to be dedicated in honor of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée nationale, 24 July 1873, responding to a request by the archbishop of Paris by voting its construction, specifies that it is to “expiate the crimes of the Commune“.[6] Montmartre had been the site of the Commune’s first insurrection, and the Communards had executed Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, who became a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church”

img_4945The climb up to the top is long…

img_4946But there are surprises you would never be able to see from below.

img_4950Beautiful and rewarding glimpses all along the way.

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