Sacré-Cœur in Paris set to finally become historic monument

The project to have the famous Montmartre basilica officially recognised was launched this week

14 October 2020
By Hannah Thompson

The iconic Sacré-Cœur basilica in Montmartre in Paris is set to become a protected historic monument after the official procedure enabling this was launched on Tuesday (October 13).

The procedure was set on track by the Île-de-France cultural affairs office la Direction régionale des affaires culturelles (DRAC) in partnership with the Ville de Paris.

On its website, DRAC director Laurent Roturier said: “The Sacré-Cœur is one of the symbols of Paris. It has been the most-visited building in Paris since Notre-Dame has been in repair.

“But even more astonishing is that it is not protected as a historic monument. This is a sign of the slow recognition of 19th century architecture.”

The project was examined and evaluated by regional heritage group la Commission régionale du patrimoine et de l'architecture in Île-de-France, which “returned a unanimous positive opinion for registration to the list of historic monuments, and unanimously expressed a wish for classification”.

The next step is for the project to be considered by national heritage group la Commission nationale du patrimoine et de l'architecture “by June 2021”, before being decreed by the Minister of Culture.

The project comes as the basilica celebrates its 100th anniversary since consecration. Architect Paul Abadie won a public competition for the building in 1874, and the first stone was laid in 1875. The Sacré-Cœur was inaugurated in 1891, and its bell tower finished in 1914.

It regularly attracts 10 million visitors per year.

“Classification” as a historic monument - which includes buildings whose conservation is considered “to be in the public interest” from the point of view of history and art - is different to “registration” of a historic monument, which is a lesser measure.

For example, since 2012, 18 Parisian churches have received the title of “historic monument”, of which six were “registered (inscrites)” and 12 were “classified (classées)”.

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