MONTMARTRE AND THE SACRE COEUR - Paris
The Romans called it Mons Mercurii, after having erected a hilltop
shrine to their god of commerce. Medieval folks referred to it
as Montmartre, or "Hill of Martyrs," after legend stated
that their patron saint tucked his decapitated head under his
arm and walked from this hill to a more comfortable resting spot
in the north of Paris.
Yet the area is probably best known for the many 19th-20th Century
painters who made it home. As rents were affordable, its working-class
streets were full of struggling artists like Picasso, Modigliani,
Renoir, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Utrillo and Van Gogh.
Along with this era came the famous taverns and dance halls -
the Moulin de la Galette immortalized by Renoir's painting, the
Moulin-Rouge, and Le Mirliton where Aristide Bruant hurled insults
at the bourgeousie who came to rub shoulders with the poor. The
police also knew the Montmartre as the resort of gangs of Parisian
toughs distinguished by their wide berets and corduroy trousers.
When Eric Satie played piano in a Montmartre cabaret, he went
armed with a hammer!
Montmartre's colorful past has left an indelible mark on its tiny
streets. The last surviving vineyard in Paris can still be seen
here as well as two of the thirty windmills which ground the wheat
grown on its butte in the 1600's. Many of the cabarets, once alive
with songs and young women dancing the cancan, can still be visited.
Explore this little village with us and see why its sloping streets
are still the obsession of painters and photographers.
The Sacre Coeur
The Sacre-Coeur was built at the
end of the 19th century at the top of Montmartre hill in Paris.
Its famous white architecture dominates the city, and offers a
wonderful view. The nearby streets of Montmarte are full of artists
Overlooking Paris on the hill to the north is the Roman-Byzantine
basilica of the Sacred Heart. dominates Paris. The church is on
the site where Saint Denis was beheaded because of his faith in
late IIIrd century. The basilica's construction was financed by
every parish in France.
The building's extraordinary whiteness is a result of the material
used in its construction: Chateau-Landon stone bleaches with age.
The front has two bronze equestrian statues of St. Joan of Arc
and St. Louis by H. Lefebvre, and the climax of the overall design
is the statue of Christ, his hand raised in blessing.
Follow the signs to the west of the Church to the Place du Tertre.
This is the artist's square. It is fun to walk around except for
the artists who are constantly trying to get you to let them draw
your portrait .
When you walk from the subway station to Sacre Coeur, you will
walk through the Montmarte flea markets. This is a lot of fun
if you like that kind of stuff.
Since 1885, the prayer of perpetual
worship has been the most important part of the life and activities
of this worldwide famous sanctuary.
The Basilica of the "Sacré Coeur" is a place
of pilgrimage where the chaplains and the Benedictine nuns of
the Sacred Heart welcome pilgrims, faithful worshippers and all
those who seek God. Adjacent to the basilic, the Ephrem Hostel
is opened to the pilgrims who have previously booked their room
The basilica publishes a spiritual magazine for everyone containing
the various organized activities, previous months events, spiritual
teaching, a book of prayers and christian testimonies
35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre Paris 18e
How to get there
Metro line 2 or 12 : Abbesses (then
take funiculaire), Anvers (then take funiculaire),
Barbes-Rochechouart,, Chateau-Rouge,, Lamarck-Caulaincourt.
Bus: 54, 80, 95 and Montmartrobus (from Metro Jules Joffrin or
Informations, hours, entrance fees
& acces map.