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Basilique Sacré-Coeur, Paray-le-Monial
The small provincial town of Paray-le-Monial on the River Bourbince has a calm and proud air about it, with pedestrian streets which are a pleasure to explore. But the heart of the town is the Basilique Sacré-Coeur.
400,000 pilgrims a year come to Paray, making it one of the great centres of Christianity. It was in 1673 when Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, a nun in the town had her first divine revelation and shortly afterwards the Sacred Heart of Jesus came about in its present form. She was beatified in 1864; the Feast of the Sacred Heart in June came into being, and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre in Paris was built by national subscription to honour her. To show the town’s importance, Pope John-Paul II visited in October 1986 and the town is twinned with Bethlehem.
This imposing sandstone building is known for its mystical light, achieved by clever architectural design. Originally when St.Hugues, Abbot of Cluny decided to build the basilica in the middle of the 12th C, he wanted it to become a replica of Cluny III on a smaller scale. Restoration work was carried out in the 19th C and 20th C.
Visit the cloister garden alongside the Basilica. The
Musée du Hiéron closeby houses works of sacred art.
Places to visit nearby