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Where to Find the Best Sacré-Coeur Views in Paris

Last Updated on 19th September 2022 by Sophie Nadeau

The Sacré-Coeur sits at the top of Montmartre, separated from the rest of the city by a large hill and steep climb up. Today it’s a basilica, although it was once the site of pagan worship. The entire area surrounding the Basilica has a history of independence from the rest of the city and was once home to countless farming fields and moulins (windmills). Here’s where to find the best Sacré-Coeur views in Paris…

Visit the Sacré-Coeur Basilica

What is the Sacré-Coeur?

The Sacré-Coeur is one of those Parisian monuments that appears near the very top of every Paris traveller’s bucket list. After the Eiffel Tower, and Arc de Triomphe, of course! And the basilica has gained its’ pride of place at the top of every guidebook bucket list for good reason; not only is it beautiful, but it also happens to be at the very top of Paris (130m above sea-level to be precise)!

The Parvis of the Sacré-Coeur provides amazing views over the city, particularly on a clear day. Just make sure that if you do want to snap beautiful photos, be sure to head there early for sunrise before tourists flock to the area come the basilica’s opening time of 6A.M!

Situated in one of Paris’ livelier neighbourhoods, Montmartre, the Sacré-Coeur is surprisingly new, construction having only been completed in the early-mid 1900s. The Sacre Coeur is named for Jesus’ ‘sacred heart‘.

Although 100 years isn’t that long in the scheme of Parisian history, it’s still surprising to many people that the basilica’s white stone has remained so pristine. The reason for this ‘pristineness‘ is due to the calcite in its stone from the nearby quarry of Château-Landon. Each time it rains, the calcite acts as a bleach, thus ensuring that the Sacre Coeur maintains its ‘silky cream’ look.

sacre coeur in the snow

How to visit the Sacré-Coeur

Famed throughout the 1920s for being a hub of artistic creativity, today Montmartre is a hive of activity for writers, artists and sculptors alike. The Sacre Coeur itself welcomes over 11.5 million visitors annually.

Basilica (free entry): 6 A.M. – 10:30 P.M. daily.

Dome (charged): 8:30 A.M. – 8 P.M.

Crypt: Closed indefinitely

Bell Tower: Closed to the public

Cool, Interesting & Fun Facts About Montmartre

Best places to see the Sacré-Coeur

#1 A Secret Paris Vineyard, 76 Rue Georges Lardennois, 75019 Paris, France

It surprises many visitors to Paris that there are still thriving vineyards in operation throughout the city. One of my favourites is that which is located in La Butte Bergeyre, a small micro-arrondissement in the 19th. With just one road, and two pedestrian walkways to reach the summit of this hill, few locals know about it, let alone tourists. From here, you can get one of the best views of the Sacré-Coeur that the city has to offer.

Butte Bergeyre, unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#2 Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris, France

Fairly close to Butte Bergeyre, you’ll find the park of Buttes Chaumont. Home to parts of the Petite Ceinture, as well as a waterfall and temple, Buttes Chaumont offers spectacular views over the city.

Home to Neoclassical follies (including an imposing temple), a grotto, and even a secret waterfall, there’s no denying that Parc des Buttes Chaumont is easily one of the best parks in Paris.

The park of Buttes Chaumont was originally commissioned by Napoleon and was intended to be a public space from its very outset. Buttes Chaumont is the fifth-largest park in the city and is so named because the composition of its soil once meant that the hill was completely barren of plants. For more information on how to visit, check out my guide to visiting Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Buttes Chaumont: unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#3 Place Dalida, Place Dalida, 75018 Paris, France

One of the most picturesque squares in the city, Place Dalida has a long and fascinating history. Named after the famous singer, from here you can see the towers and spires of the iconic basilica peeking out from behind quirky architecture and at the end of a cobbled lane.

Adjoining this pretty square, you’ll find Rue de l’Aubreuvoir. Perhaps the cutest street in all of the city, its ivy-clad façades and flower-covered windowsills make you feel like you’re stepping back in time… right into the Paris of the 1920s. Of all the Montmartre locations for unusual places to see the Sacre Coeur in Paris, Place Dalida is the one you most definitely shouldn’t miss!

Place Dalida, unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#4 Musée de Montmartre (Montmartre Museum), 12-14 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris, France

Within the grounds of Montmartre Museum, to the rear of the building, you’ll find a little artist’s garden. Filled with flowers in the Summertime, and cherry blossom in the Springtime, it’s not hard to see how the house and gardens once provided artistic inspiration to countless masters. Renoir even lived in the house for a period of time…

Musée de Montmartre, unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#5 Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet, Rue de la Bonne, 75018 Paris, France

This green space is the perfect place to enjoy a Parisian picnic, all the while enjoying a view of one of Paris’ most iconic sites. Although it was once the site of a mill, today it is a haven of tranquillity. 

Head to the back of the Sacré-Coeur. Head away from the Parvis Sacré-Coeur and away all of the tourists… this is where you’ll find where locals hang out to eat their lunch.

Within the terraced garden of Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchett, you’ll find ample green space, as well as an open-air amphitheater, plenty of seating, a fountain, and a small waterfall.

At the beginning of summer, the park and surrounding areas are some of the best places to spot wisteria, meanwhile, in the fall the park turns into a glorious golden autumnal scene.

unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris
unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#6 Parc de Saint-Cloud, 1 Avenue de la Grille d’Honneur, 92210 Saint-Cloud, France

Located on the fringes of Paris, Parc de Saint-Cloud is one of my favourite places to escape the crowds of Paris. There was once a grand Château here. Now, all that remains is a grand, landscaped garden and a fantastic, bird’s eye view over the city. Of all the places to see the Sacre Coeur in Paris, this park may well be the best. After all, it’s not often that you can capture the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur in the same shot!

Parc Saint-Cloud, unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#7 Centre Georges Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

The height of this modern art museum in the middle of Le Marais means that it is also home to one of the best rooftop terraces in Paris. The museum itself boasts several floors of exhibition and gallery space, as well as a library and rooftop restaurant. It’s here that you can find the likes of works by artists such as Picasso, Braque, and many other acclaimed artists.

Centre Georges Pompidou, unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#8 From Streets in Paris Proper, Boulevard Haussmann, 8th-9th arrondissements

Stroll along the very centre of the city, and you’ll be surprised at how many times you spot the Sacreé-Coeur from Paris proper itself. One of my favourite places to play hide-and-seek with the iconic Basilica is along Boulevard Haussmann.

So-called after the famous architect who redesigned much of the city in the 19th-Century, today the road is home to grand department stores. Hands down, the best street to get a view of the Sacré-Coeur is on the corner of rue Lafitte and Boulevard Haussmann.

Here, in the 9th arrondissement, you’ll find big-name French stores like Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. If you have a little more time while in the area, be sure to head to the rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette where you’ll soon spy one of the best free views of Paris.

Boulevard Haussmann, unusual places to see the sacre coeur in paris

#9 Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

Once upon a time, Musée d’Orsay was a thriving and bustling train station which had locomotives taking passengers to the rest of France and beyond. Today, the station has since been transformed into a wonderful art museum boasting some of the most impressive impressionist paintings that Paris, and indeed France, has to offer.

Head up to the top floor, and you’ll soon discover the clock of Musée d’Orsay, which in of itself offers a fantastic Sacré-Coeur view. If you want to see the best of the museum and beat the crowds in the meantime, I highly recommend booking a skip-the-line ticket like this one and being sure to arrive mid-week and earlier in the day if possible.

where to see the best fall foliage in paris, france: musée d'orsay

#10 Le Clos Montmartre, Rue des Saules, 75018 Paris

Though not quite as good as some of the other Sacré-Coeur views in Paris contained within this list, there’s no denying the beauty of the Montmartre Vineyard, not to mention viewed with the Sacré-Coeur in the backdrop.

Pretty to visit during any time of the year, though the stunning tones of Autumn make this possibly the best time to go, Le Clos Montmartre is now the only remaining vineyard in the 18th arrondissement of the city.

You see, once upon a time, the district was outside of the city limits of Paris and was once a village in its own right, only being absorbed into the fabric of Paris during the 19th-century. Today, Montmartre retains its village vibe and the annual Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre is held during the first few weeks of October.

Clos Montmartre 18th arrondissement Paris France

#11 Cimetière du Calvaire

Paris’ oldest cemetery is not only the smallest graveyard in the French capital, but it also happens to be one of the hardest to access. After all, it’s only open for one day a year, La Toussaint (All Saint’s Day, the 1st of November).

If you want to see this Montmartre hidden gem for yourself and marvel at one of the best Sacré-Coeur views, head to the Cimetière du Calvaire between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM on the 1st of November.

Cimetière du Calvaire, Paris' Oldest & Smallest Cemetery in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, France

#12 The top of the Sacré-Coeur,

Of course, if you want to get a unique view of the Sacré Coeur that quite literally can’t be spied anywhere else in Paris, then paying for a ticket to reach the top of the monument is an absolute must! Since the fire of Notre Dame, you can’t go up the Hugo famous church tower anymore, but the Sacré-Coeur is still open for business.

A history of the Sacré-Coeur

The iconic Basilica wasn’t always the site of a Roman catholic Church. No. Not only did Druids supposedly worship here for hundreds, if not thousands of years, but the Romans built temples to Mars and Mercury on the site. In fact, the original name for Montmartre was Mons Martis (Mars’ Mount).

This name was later changed to Montmartre after ‘Mount of the Martyr,’ referring to countless martyrs killed on the hill. In fact, the very first chapel, built in 270 AD, was built upon the steep hill in honour of the first bishop of Paris (Saint Denis), who was allegedly beheaded by the Romans.

At some point during the 9th century AD, the first Christian chapel upon the hill fell into disrepair and was soon demolished. It was quickly rebuilt, sitting atop of Martyr’s Mount, the final resting place of countless Christian martyrs.

Countless fires and other misfortunes took place on the site for the next few centuries. In 1792, during the most violent years of the French revolution, the chapel was demolished and the abbess (having been accused of having links with the French nobility), was executed.

In 1870, Prussia and France were at war. By 1872, France had lost the war and the Sacre Coeur was commissioned as a way of the state to do penance on the exact same site as all of the previous chapels before it. Only this time, the church was to be built bigger and sturdier than all those before it. This is the Sacre Coeur you see today.

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Where to see and find views of the Sacré-Coeur, Paris, France

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Darina

Thursday 15th of June 2017

Last weekend I was in Paris and visited the Place Dalida for the first time. I really loved the view!

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