Many would argue that the best view in Paris is from the top of the Eiffel Tower. In my experience, the most magnificent and unique outlook in Paris is to be had at the very top of a beautiful church named the Sacré-Cœur. A visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacré-Cœur, pronounced sah-kray-kohr) offers a view that encompasses La Défense, the Eiffel Tower, the Montparnasse Tower, the Panthéon, the Bois de Vincennes, the Buttes-Chaumont and the Basilica of Saint-Denis. The top of the dome is the second highest point in Paris after the Eiffel tower. I’ve been told that with binoculars in hand, all the monuments of Paris can be seen from the Sacré-Cœur.
The Basilica is located in Montmartre, a quintessentially French neighborhood on the north side of the city making it a magical place to visit, any time of year, any time of day. Montmartre is a hive of activity for writers, artists and sculptors alike. In addition to the phenomenal view and enjoyable experience of strolling through the neighborhood of Montmartre’s, cobblestone streets, elegantly aging apartments, and lively plazas, the Sacré-Cœur is also a historical and architectural star.
Montmartre, the home of the Sacré-Cœur, has historically always been a place of worship: from the Druids of ancient Gaul, through the Romans with their temples, to the Church of Saint Peter. The Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, was approved for construction by the French Parliament in 1871 as a representation of the new “moral order” in Paris after the agitated events that took place during the Franco-Prussian War. The completion of construction of the Basilica including the Bell Tower, Apse Mosaic, Crypt, Grand Organ and the surrounding reflection gardens took nearly 40 years to complete.
The architectural style of the Sacré-Cœur is very different from other churches in Paris which are primarily constructed in the Gothic style of the middle ages. The Sacré-Cœur is inspired by the Romano-Byzantine architecture found in Italy. Design aside, one of the churches most noticeable differences from others in the city is its gleaming white exterior. Looking up at the street from Champs-Élysées it almost appears that the church is made of whipped cream given Sacré-Cœur’s glistening white appearance and domed peaks. It’s surprising that the not even 150-year-old church’s façade has remained so pristine. This is due to the calcite in its stone from the nearby quarry of Château-Landon. Each time it rains, the special travertine stone bleaches with age to a gleaming white.
I recall, during my first trip to Paris, that the Sacre-Coeur was not even on my radar. Thankfully, I met up with an old friend who lived in Paris and they insisted on showing me around Montmartre. Not sure if it was the view, the grandeur or the architect of Sacré-Cœur but for something that wasn’t even on my list of places to visit, it ended up being one of the top highlights of my trip.
Exploration of the Sacre-Coeur with your concierge is part of our Montmartre Walking Tour as well as our Paris Night Lights evening drive tour.
Sign up to our mailing list to get updated on new tours, blogs, and fun Paris trip ideas. You can unsubscribe if we bore you.
See the classic sights of Paris with this collection of Private Tours and other experiences. Great for New Travelers.
Taste the latest Paris Food experiences with our personal and tasty private food tours. Learn to make authentic Parisian meals, taste chocolate assortments, or…
Experience immersive music tours in Paris. Sit and listen up close to an award-winning Master Pipe Organist or learn about the history of Jazz in Paris on a private tour!
Some parts of France can’t be put into a 2 or 3-hour tour and some just take a while to get to. Venture out of Paris on an exciting Day Trip.
From perfume to WW2, our private history tours are a way to see Paris in a different light.
Experience some of the most significant works of art in Paris on a Private Art Tour. Learn about the story’s of the painters behind the works and ask questions along the way.
Looking for something particular? We’ll help you find it in Paris. Our private shopping tours include Antiques, Wardrobe, and more!
The Château de Fontainebleau, just 35 miles southeast of central Paris, can proudly claim to have been a sovereign residence for eight centuries. Capétiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orléans, all members of French ruling dynasties, have lived within these walls. The chateau dates back to 1137—and centuries of royals have expanded this former royal hunting lodge to a more than 1,500-room estate. Most of what you’ll see dates back to the 16th century, a combination of Italian Renaissance art and French design, these rooms are some of the most intricate and breathtaking in France. If times allows, you can enjoy lunch in this charming area.
Tour Length: 5 – 6 hours
5 years ago
Right on the money! We were just there and loved it!
5 years ago
Arrive Paris October 12, 1919 for 9 days. (Yes, a full year away.)
However, I have been to Paris many times, parlez Francais un peu, and observe that you have boutique tours. Please send me emails. Interested in going back to Beaune and the museum there! Merci Beaucoup!