Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre, Paris, France Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre, Paris, France

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Things to do in Paris | Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie | The Métropolitain | Musée de l'Erotisme and Pigalle | Musée d'Orsay
The Palace of Versailles | Père-Lachaise Cemetery | Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre | Saint-Ouen Flea Market

Sacré-Cœur, or 'Sacred Heart', is located at the top of Montmartre, or 'Martyr's Hill', which is the highest hill in Paris. It was built to commemorate the Communard rebels who were killed while resisting the invading Cossacks. They were hiding inside the chalk mines when the exits were blown up by the troops sent by the National Government at Versailles. Construction was started in 1876, and finally finished nearly 40 years later.

How to Get There

The nearest métro station is Abbesses. From there you can walk to the bottom of the hill. Take a good street map, as the signs are not very clear. If you don't have the energy to walk up the steps, then you can take the funiculaire (funicular railway) at the Place Saint-Pierre.

What you Will Find

The Church is still in use, so entrance is free. Silence must be observed, and a donation would be appreciated. It is very peaceful inside the church, and the choir sounds beautiful, even to non-believers.

When you have finished looking at the magnificent interior, it is time to visit the dome and the crypt, the entrance to which is at the left of the church. These are not free, and the dome is a long way up. It is reached by climbing a lot of narrow steps which are very winding, and some outside, so it's not suitable for everyone. It is well worth it if you can make the trip, though, as the view is stunning - the dome is the second highest point in Paris, and you can see the entire city from here. It is possible to see most of the sights, and trace a route from the Louvre to La Défense. The Eiffel Tower looms over the city, and to the left in the centre of the city is the Tour Montparnasse.

If refreshment is needed, there are always numerous cafés within walking distance, including the Rosebud Café.


The heart of Montmartre is Place du Tetre, full of 'quick-draw' artists and over-priced art. It is a very crowded square, and not always worth dragging yourself through the easels and stalls, unless you particularly like watching artists at work.

The Salvador Dalí museum is in the Rue Poulbolt. It is an underground museum, and it houses a lot of his lesser known art, mostly watercolours, such as his illustrations for Don Quixote and the Bible. There is a salesroom where you can buy his work. Each mould had nine copies made before it was broken, and reproductions taken from these are on sale here. Back upstairs on the ground floor is a souvenir shop where books and postcards fill the room.

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