Home > 1700-1900 > Franco-Prussian War > Sacre Coeur Basilica

The beautiful white travertine Catholic basilica on the hills of Montmatre in Paris was inspired by desire to honor the more than 58,000 Frenchmen who lost their lives during the civil uprising in Paris at the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1873. When the French Assembly approved the building of the basilica in 1874, however, part of the reason was to celebrate the victory over the communards of Paris who had slain the archbishop of Paris during the fighting. Many of the communards remain entombed in the ground underneath the basilica in the gypsum mines; the French Army of Versailles used explosives to destroy the undeground chambers where they had sought refuge. The next archbishop is said to have climbed the butte of Montmartre and had a vision that on this beautiful high spot overlooking Paris a church of the Sacred Heart should be built; the basilica became a symbol of the resurgent Catholic Church in France. The view from the Basilica which sits on the highest ground in Paris is spectacular.

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