Thursday, November 4, 2010

Basilique du Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

The Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is a Roman Catholic church and one of the more famous landmarks of Paris. It's located in Montmartre, the highest point of the city. The church was built in 1875 on a site which has been associated with the beheading of Saint Denis, the patron of the city, in the 3rd century.  It is believed that the Basilica was dedicated to the 58,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the Franco-Prussian war. 

Read on for more images and info.

Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

The project was declared a "National Vow" by the church and was funded by Parishes throughout France.  An architect named Paul Abadie designed the basilica after winning a competition in which 77 other architects took part. The foundation stone is said to have been laid on the 16th of June 1875. Several attempts were made to stop the construction of the Basilica and it was once described as an "incessant provocation to civil war". One of these attempts led to the law passed in 1873 to acquire land for the site, being rescinded in 1882. Fortunately the church was saved by a technicality and the law was not reintroduced. 

Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

Abadie died soon after the foundation stone was laid and the work on the Basilica was carried out by 5 other architects. It was completed in 1914 but was not formally dedicated until 1919, after World War I. 

The Basilica is built out of Travertine stone quarried in Chateau-Landon in France. The stone constantly exudes calcite which ensures the Basilica remains white despite pollution and weathering. The two bronze statues at the entrance are of Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX.

A view of Paris from Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
A view of Paris from Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

The views of Paris from the forecourt and the tower are stunning. The view alone makes the climb to the top of the tower (around 300 steps) worthwhile. As with most of these monuments, it is not advisable to attempt the climb if you are claustrophobic.   

A panoramic view of Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
A panoramic view of Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

The first, third and fifth images on this post were on my shot list for Paris. I had to do a fair bit of research to identify a suitable and accessible location to photograph the Basilica from. It wasn't the easiest thing to do from Australia but with the help of a couple of photographers I was able to find a place. In order to get these shots, I carried the 100-400mm lens around Europe for a month! This was the only location I used it in.

Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
Sacre Coeur - Paris, France

These images were captured with a Canon 7D and a combination of the 100-400mm and 24-105mm lenses.




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