They had to dig 83 shafts, each one 38 metres deep, in order to ensure a solid base for the Basilica!
On top of the Butte Montmartre, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a recent building that was finished in the beginning of the 20th century. Based on plans by the architect Paul Abadie and built in the Roman-Byzantine style between 1876 and 1910, the Sacré-Coeur needed massive foundations and thus was a controversial issue. The architect died in 1884 and has never seen the end of his work. Lucien Magne – who made the famous campanile (84m tall, it quickly became the minaret for the Montmartre people).
This campanile holds the most famous bell in the world: the Savoyarde, a 19 tons bell that was offered by the four dioceses of Savoie and forged on may 13th of 1891 in Annecy by the Paccard firm. twenty eight horses were needed to bring it and it arrive in the night of October 16th – a day dedicated to Saint Margaret-Mary – in 1895.
The Basilica was erected as a continuation for the “Vœu National” of 1873 – a will to commemorate the terrible events of the Commune, and is today devoted to Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur is one of the most visited monuments in Paris. Its immaculate whiteness can be seen from many parts of Paris which makes it a perfect symbol for Montmartre. Despite the pollution, tha Basilica remain white. Actually, the stones that were used for the construction came from Château-Landon (in the French department of Seine et Marne) and produce a white substance – calcin – whenever it is raining. As a consequence, the parts that are protected from the rain are the darkest.