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Everything You Need to Know about Sacre Coeur before you Visit

Pagan-Approved Tips for Visiting Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Paris

Sacre Coeur cathedral in Montmartre, Paris

Every list of things to do in Paris's Montmartre neighborhood includes Sacre Coeur cathedral, and let me tell you, it’s for a good reason. The basilica is the crown jewel of the hill, and it is well worth visiting. Here’s some tips to make the most of your visit.

1 - Skip the First Overlook

Sacre Coeur cathedral in Montmartre, Paris

Skip the overlook right in front of the basilica. There’s going to be huge crowds of tourists all jockeying for positions to take photos in front of the Paris skyline from the overlook at the cathedral’s base. Feel free to stop and admire the view, but save your photos for the basilica dome. The views will be much better and you won’t be constantly elbowed by other tourists.

2 - Spend a Few Minutes Inside

Regardless of how you feel about christianity (ya gurl is a recovering evangelical and a growing pagan witch) the architecture of gothic churches is where it’s AT. The basilica is free to enter, though you may need to wait in a short security line. Inside, admire the architecture, the stained glass windows, and the statuary.

3 - Light a Candle

Only if you feel like it. But for me, the act of lighting a candle in front of a statue feels innately pagan to me, even if I happen to be inside a catholic church. A little candle costs 2 euro, and the funds help maintain the gorgeous basilica you’re currently admiring.

I always enjoy finding a saint who stands for something cool and lighting a candle in front of them. Plus, it feels like leaving a little of your energy behind in Paris, which never goes amiss. When I visited Sacre Coeur, I lit a candle in front of Saint Joseph. He’s a personal favorite of mine because, regardless of what values the catholic church assigns to him, as the husband of the woman allegedly impregnated by god, he feels to me like the patron saint of Figuring Out How to Deal with Bullshit, which is the kind of energy I can always use more of in my life.

4 - Climb to the Dome

The dome is the one part of the basilica that has an entry fee, but it’s well worth it. The entrance to the dome is to the left of the main basilica doors, and it costs 7 euro to climb.

Full disclosure, the climb to the top is WORK. It’s almost 300 steps to the top, and they are narrow, spiraling, and steep most of the way. Pace yourself, and don’t be ashamed of stopping on the landings to catch your breath.

But let me repeat that both the cost and the climb are so worth the effort! The views from the top are breathtaking. You can walk the full circle around the dome, getting a 360 degree view of Paris from above. Many of my favorite photos from my trip to Paris were taken at the top of Sacre Coeur. It's easily the best vista of Paris, far better than the top of the Eiffel Tower.

And while you’re up there, make sure you stop and take a group photo in front of that one spot where you get the basilica tower and the Eiffel Tower in the same shot. (You’ll know the spot because you’ll have to wait for it to clear before you get your photo.) Make friends with the group in line in front of you so you can take group photos for each other!

Sacre Coeur is a must-see in Paris!

Don't miss this stunning cathedral and the amazing views of the city from the top!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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