Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur ~ Montmartre ~ Paris ~ France

It does not matter what foreign country you may travel in, the church is often the heart of the city or the village that you visit and will be a point of interest worth seeing.  We have seen many on our travels and some of them are absolutely amazing but the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is one that will stand out in my mind forever.

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre, Paris, France
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Basilica of Sacred Heart sits at the highest point in Montmartre, a northern section of Paris, FranceMontmartre is translated as ‘mountain of the martyr” named after the martyred bishop who was beheaded in the fourth century.  Basilica du Sacre-Coeur was built 1875-1914. The travertine stone that it is made of releases calcite when it gets wet therefore maintains the white stone.

The musician and his harp on the steps of Basilica Sacre-Coeur, France
Montmartre has always been a favored place for musicians and artists to gather.  The harp was a beautiful instrument to listen to as we climbed all those steps to the top.  There is bus service for those that cannot or do not want to climb all those stairs.

Architectural details on the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in Pais, France
The architecture of the Basilica was not typical for the time.  I don’t know what this particular creation is although it seems to resemble a cow.  It doesn’t look like typical gargoyles as some others on the building do but perhaps it was to direct water off the roof, which was one of the original reasons for gargoyles on buildings or to ward off evil.  I believe the faces carved into the building were the early bishops of the Basilica as was often done.

Doors leading into Basilica Sacre-Coeur
These beautiful bronze doors led us to the most incredible mosaic I have ever seen.  Cameras are not allowed inside which is understandable but much to my dismay, so all I have is the picture embedded in my mind.  The mosaic, “Christ in Majesty” filled the apse, the vaulted recess of the dome and with the use of gold leaf and lights to highlight, it almost took my breath away.  It is among the largest mosaics in the world and is an incredible sight.  

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris
So many architectural details were used in this early day that may not be immediately noticeable but on a closer look, they will be there. Several gargoyles around the church plus the faces we could see in the other picture.  Many structures will include statues of people of importance, Joan of Arc is the patina colored statue we see above the entrance on the Basilica.

The view of Paris, France from the Basilica
The view of Paris from the steps of Basilica du Sacre-Coeur was from a good resting spot after climbing many steps and also gives an idea of the size of this beautiful city showing only a portion.  The Eiffel Tower, slightly lower than the height of the dome on the Basilica, is out of sight of our view here.

Street musician in Montmartre, Paris, France
This gentleman was the epitome of what we might expect to see on our visit to the old gathering place for artists in Montmartre, Paris, France in years gone by.  His appearance is very French and the song he performed while we were there was an old standard easily recognized by these visitors.  This began our visit to Place du Tertre.  Click here to join us there.


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