Le Sacre Coeur
The Sacred Heart
What is it?
Le Sacre Coeur is a Roman Catholic church located in the city of Paris, France. Its construction began in 1875 and it was finished in 1914. It is 115 ft long, 279 ft wide, and 272 ft tall. It was consecrated in 1919 after World War I in commemoration to the "Sacred Heart" of Jesus Christ. Today, it is a main attraction for many tourist who visit Paris.
Why was it built?
In 1870, the French lost in the Franco-Prussian War. Many of the French believed that the cause of this loss was condemnation for sins. As atonement for these sins, they built this monumental church as an offering to God.
Who designed it?
The architect behind the construction of Le Sacre Coeur was Paul Abadie. He acquired the position of head architect after winning a competition for the design of the church. His idea for the style of the church was Romano-Byzantine, though many of the structures within the church have very nationalistic features, like statues of French saints. Sadly, Abadie did not live to see the final product of all of his work. He died in 1884.
Where is it?
Le Sacre Coeur is located on Montmatre, a hill north of Paris. It was built on the very top of the hill, but before this Montmatre had been a small farming community. The name literally translates to "Mountain of the Martyr". It earned this name when Saint Denis, the patron saint of Paris, was executed during the Decian persecution of Christians.