As one of Paris’ most popular sites, the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur receives millions of visitors every year. Started in the 1870s and consecrated in 1919, the gleaming white church beckons visitors from its pedestal atop of the hill of Montmartre. However, the high level of visitors means that the immediate surroundings of the famous basilique can be extremely busy, making it hard to get a good photo. Instead, there are a number of unique views of Sacré-Coeur which pop up around the neighborhood and in surprising places a little further afield. As a long time resident of Montmartre I’ve been keeping mental note of all the best spots which I’ve brought together for you below!
Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre
This oddly shaped street is divided into three parts, all with lovely views of Sacré-Coeur. the best is likely the one shown above, on the section of the street just to the west of the church. Although you’ll have to push your way through swaths of tourists mixed with some illegal portrait artists, however, if you have a little patience, and wait for a break in the masses, you can get a pretty photo like the above.
The “park” in front of Sacré-Coeur definitely attracts more people, but I prefer this lesser known park. Found just behind the basilica and off of Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre, it is much more peacefulness and has enchanting views of the domed church. It’s also a great place to picnic or have a romantic cuddle under the vine-laden pergola.
Rue Lamarck & Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre Stairs
If you follow Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre behind Sacré-Coeur (great views of the back along the way), you’ll find this small staircase where you can enjoy this nice perspective, best observed in the morning since it faces east.
I love this tiny lane for two reasons. Firstly, it provides a convenient detour around the crowds and tourist shops packed on the parallel street, rue Norvins. Secondly, it has a wonderful view of Sacré-Coeur that progresses as you walk along the street! Simply enchanting!
Rue de la Bonne
This is one of the most secret, and seductive, views of Sacré-Coeur. A short cul-de-sac, the street and stairs are found just behind the basilica, just past the Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet park. You can also reach it from rue Lamarck. It’s particularly magical either in the early morning or at night… when you can take a romantic stroll with the glowing church in the background.
Rue de l’Abreuvoir
This curvaceous street is one of the prettiest in all of Paris. The best view is from the very bottom, at Place Dalida, where you have the full perspective up towards the dome of Sacré-Coeur. Due to its westerly position, the light is best in the afternoon (like the photo at the top of the post), or else in the evening, as seen above. I have to say, I walk by here when coming home from the north part of the 18th…. and the vista gets me every time, even after all these years living in the area!
Most visitors to Sacré-Coeur get off at métro Anvers (or descend from a bus there), and march straight up Rue de Steinkerque. Instead, when you get out of the subway, walk a few paces to the right and you can get this nice view of Sacré-Coeur framed by the buildings of rue Briquet. Cross the street back and you can get a better perspective, or for a slightly different angle, keep going back and you have a similar view, but with more of the hill, at the other side of the Square d’Anvers Park and at the top of Rue Turgot.
Rue Norvins & Rue Jean-Baptiste Clément
Ahhhh! Quintessential Paris! From corner of Rue Norvins and Rue Jean-Baptiste Clément you can have this picturesque view towards the rue Norvins and the dome of the basilica in the distance. You have to stand back at this position to be able to get the church in. The light is best on this side after lunch.
Rue Ferdinand Flocon
Rue de Bruxelles
Another unexpected discovery, I was coming home from a meeting in the 9th when I turned to go up this small street and voila! This bakery sign was point straight to the basilica! This is one of the most original views I’ve found and up the street it isn’t quite the same!
Rue de Chartres & Rue de la Goutte d’Or
For something a little more offbeat, under the shadow of Sacré-Coeur is the cosmopolitan distrct of la Goutte d’Or, whose main street has this lovely angle up to Montmartre. The full view can be admired at the bottom of Rue de Chartres which merges into Rue de la Goutte d’Or. The area isn’t picture perfect Paris and it isn’t for everyone, but if you’re more on the adventurous side, this could be an interesting exploration. You can take in a similar perspective from aboard Métro line 2 when coming from the east in the direction of Porte Dauphine. After you leave La Chapelle station look ahead and to the right and you’ll catch a nice glimpse of the basilica.
Musée d’Orsay Clock
Not all beautiful views of Sacré-Coeur are found on the street level! In fact, one of the most magical views can be admired from the famous 5th floor clocks of the Musée d’Orsay. Position yourself perfectly and you can have this lofty vista with mirage like view towards the basilica and Montmartre.
There are a few other views that I’ve decided to add in, as honorable mentions. If you’re walking up the market street Rue des Martyrs, on the right side of the sidewalk, the sight of Sacré Coeur will help distract you from huffing and puffing up the hill for a few minutes. Over in the 17th, for a good stretch along the Boulevard des Batignolles you can see Sacré Coeur in the distant (as in the photo above), albeit, hard to photograph without a very good zoom. Lastly… once I was crossing the Pont de la Concorde and up ahead in the distance was Sacré-Coeur! Okay, I have to admit, I did walk all the way home from there… but luckily there’s a direct métro home from there!
Discover these places with our Google Map!
Do you know any other nice views of Sacré-Coeur? Feel free to add them to the comments below!