The Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Six other architects succeeded him to complete the building.
Style : Romano-Byzantine
In contrast to the Gothic churches of the Middle Ages like Notre-Dame de Paris (1163-1240), the style is inspired by churches such as Saint Sofia in Constantinople and San Marco in Venice.
The exterior travertine stone, known as ‘Château-Landon’, comes from the Souppes-sur-Loing quarry in Seine et Marne and is particular in that it is extremely hard with a fine grain and exudes calcite on contact with rainwater, making it white.
Duration of works
- 1875 : First stone laid followed by several months of foundation works. Pits 33 metres deep had to be dug which when filled in became pillars that supported the building. Without these pillars the Basilica would have sunk into the soil.
- 1878 : Work begins on the crypt.
- 1881 : Work begins on the Basilica proper.
- 1914 : Everything is ready for the consecration, including the bell tower that houses the Savoyarde, a 19-tonne bell, but the breakout of World War 1 in 1914 puts it on hold.
- 1919 : The consecration takes place on 16 October.
The interior architecture, also in the Romano-Byzantine style, gives this “house of God” an atmosphere of harmony and peace. The light and architectural details focus attention on the apse, the place of liturgical celebration and adoration of the Holy Sacrament.
- The mosaic was done between 1900 and 1922.
- The stained glass windows, fitted between 1903 and 1920, were destroyed by bombing in 1944 and replaced in 1946.
- The grand organ was built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
- Basilica : 85 metres long, 35 metres wide.
- Outer Dome : 83 metres high.
- Inner Dome : 55 metres high, diameter 16 metres.
- The entire city of Paris is visible from the forecourt of the Basilica. From the dome, over 200 metres above the River Seine, one can see the surrounding countryside for 50 kilometres. It is the highest point in Paris after the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889.
At its consecration the church received the title of Basilica, or place of pilgrimage.
The Sacred Heart of Christ is adored in the mystery of the Eucharist (Mass). The prayer of adoration is both a preparation and prolongation of the Eucharistic mystery.
This prayer of intercession for the Church and the world is offered up to God day and night.