In the Shadow of Sacre Coeur

In The Shadow Of Sacre Coeur

Sacré Cœur.

35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre.

After a morning spent making our way to some shops on rue d’Hauteville in Paris, we realized that if we had traveled all this way that we should continue on to see Sacré Cœur.

We had already covered 2.2 km (1.37 miles) making our way from the hotel to the area where we shopped, so while the hubby knew how far we needed to walk, I left it nebulous to the teenagers. They are more action-oriented than sight-seeing oriented and I knew the basilica wouldn’t be high on the list if they knew that there was still 2.0 km (1.24 miles) or around 30 minutes more walking on top of the 30+ minutes they’d already done.

The first peek of Sacré Cœur.

After some “how much farther” and “are we there yet” questions (yes, even teenagers still ask that question. To be fair…so do some adults), we finally arrived at Boulevard de Rouchechouart and got a peek of Sacré Cœur rising up on the Butte Montmartre located in the 18th arrondissement.


Sacré Cœur is a Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica.

The basilica was designed by architect Paul Abadie and six other architects succeeded him to complete the building. The architectural style is Romano-Byzantine.

The first stone was laid in 1875 and although the basilica was ready to be consecrated in 1914, World War I put that on hold and it was consecrated on October 16, 1919.


Building materials.

The exterior travertine stone is known as Château-Landon. It exudes calcite upon contact with rainwater, which is how the basilica stays so white.

Sacre Couer in Montmartre with carousel in foreground

Scam Artists.

Be forewarned that if you decide to walk along the area in front of Sacré Cœur, you will likely be harassed by scam artists known as “string men”. We were familiar with many of the talked about scams in Paris, but had not heard of this one. It is very obvious that there must be an underlying scam and we were very direct in saying “no thank you”. However, these men were especially keen to try to prey on my 15 and 17 year old sons by appealing to the fact that my boys are friendly. One tried to fist bump the 15 year old and as he went to oblige, the man opened his hand as if to handshake instead and began to place the string. I turned and pulled my son away, again saying “no thank you”.

It left a sour taste in your mouth that it did not end. Others would continue to come up and tried to talk to my sons when they weren’t standing right beside us. Originally, I wasn’t the least bit worried about harassment of my sons since they stand at 6’6″ and over 6′, and while the men were not aggressive (in a hostile way), they were unrelenting.

There were no police around to create a presence that would perhaps eliminate the harassment.

But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from enjoying the beauty of Sacré Cœur.


Even though everyone was tired, I coerced them into climbing the stairs and getting a closer view of the basilica.

We did not go inside the basilica. We climbed to the balcony above the crowds picnicking on the lawn.

The views of the city were breathtaking.

At one point while the hubby and I were taking selfies and Miss Sunshine was capturing the city views, the boys sat down near the lawn below and listened to a gentleman playing his guitar.

It was a resplendent spring afternoon in Paris.

The beauty of the basilica more than made up for our tired feet.

Creating Memories.

I can still remember that day so clearly.

Walking along the streets of Paris, hunting a little boutique for Mr. D to buy his girlfriend a present.

Deciding that I,too, must have a present and finding a bangle bracelet in a little shop along rue d’Hauteville.

Watching my teens stroll along drinking their sugar laden Starbucks fraps.

Holding my husband’s hand in Paris.

Climbing the stairs of Montmartre.

Taking in all its beauty.

From here we would make our way to my one requested stop… Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore in the heart of Paris

… but not before getting off at the wrong stop along the way.

Each moment a memory.

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things- Kurt Vonnegut quote with daisies in the background

Let your light shine!



23 thoughts on “In The Shadow Of Sacre Coeur

    • Thank you.
      Wow! I could not imagine Paris in January. I’m originally a Florida Native and slowly getting used to Virginia (just hit the 4 year mark) winters, but I’m sure Paris is amazing all year round!!

  1. Such a nice piece on the site of Sacre Coeur. I would add that the atmosphere inside the church is very special and comforting. A place where I felt peace, when I visted.

    • I would love to visit it inside. I did go inside Notre Dame and find many cathedrals/churches/basilicas (in my limited travels) feel so comforting inside as well as holding beautiful interiors.
      It’s so lovely that you felt such peace there. Thank you so much for sharing. It makes me want to take the time to go inside when I find the opportunity to return to Paris.

      • Yes. I did too when I traveled there. I did go to Notre Dame and saw a beautiful French Wedding that was happening! That was amazing.
        Sacre Coeur has a special quality. Happy travels!

  2. We have wonderful photos of the sacre coeur too. Strangely I don’t remember too many street con-artists when we were there – it was quite a few years ago now though.

    • Perhaps you were there before this. Most articles I’ve read are within the past 3 years. Perhaps it’s new. It is predominately a certain refugee contingency. Since I am not familiar with most geography, I don’t know the timeline. I’m glad that you all did not run upon many con-artists. Sacre Coeur was definitely too beautiful to let a contingent ruin! 🙂

  3. Its breathtaking xx We passed many “con artists” on our way up – last year a lady in our tour group was conned out of $500 au….the game of the three cups….she had been told before we all went there of the con artists…but she “saw someone win” and thought it was easy money. Of course the person who won the money was part of the scheme. We went inside both years last year and this year. Such a beautiful place.

    • We did see the three cups game on the street leading in to Sacre Coeur. I am familiar with that game and am not a gambler (poker night with our friends was always hilarious because they knew if I was betting, I had a good hand), but I found the string men to be annoying in their “following you” part of the scheme.
      I would have loved to have gone inside. There’s always next time!! 🙂

  4. So great memories, and beautiful images of the Basilica. It’s still on my list to see like Versailles! There’s so much to see and do and so little time while there that these have been left to see at another time. I hope I get that chance!

    • I felt like I had such a beautiful overview of Paris, but it was like the trailer to the movie. 5 minutes for hours more of delving. I definitely need to get back!! I hope that both of us get the chance to return!!

  5. Oops… don’t know what happened with my comment 🙂
    Love Sacre Coeur but yeah it got a little too commercial and a lot of shady people around. Have to try to remember the good parts of it.

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