Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paray-le-Monial

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paray-le-Monial (French: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, pronounced [sakʁe kœʁ]), commonly known as Basilica of Paray-le-Monial, is a Romanesque church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paray-le-Monial, Burgundy, eastern France. It is a popular landmark and one of the most visited religious site in France.[1] The Sacred Heart of Jesus was an increasingly popular devotion since the visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690).[2]

Basilica of Paray-le-Monial

The church was built in the 12th century by Hugues de Semur, the most important of the abbots of Cluny, on the site of a 10th-century monastery founded by count Lambert of Chalon. It was a small-scale version of the Abbey of Cluny. It was completed in the 14th century, although some sections were added in the 18th century or renovated in the 19th century. As a priory, it was under the authority of Cluny and was a popular pilgrimage site. It is the best conserved example of Cluniac architecture in Burgundy.[3]


View of the basilica from above
View of the nave.

The church has a rather short nave and two aisles, crossed by a single-nave transept. The choir includes a semicircular apse with an ambulatory, and three radial chapels. The edifice has an overall length of 63.5 meters, including the vestibule and the eastern chapel, and a width of 22.35 m. The nave (which is 22 m tall) and the aisles are covered by ogival barrel vaults, with, internally, the use of different height levels which was typical of Romanesque architecture. It has pre-Gothic pillars, a blind tribune and a clerestory with small windows. The capitals of the columns are generally decorated with vegetable motifs, although some feature depictions of animals or other figures. The choir houses a 14th-century fresco, rediscovered in 1935.

The exterior has a sober appearance, with massive walls. The few decorations include the portal of the transept's left arm, with flower and geometrical motifs. The crossing is surmounted by a tower with an elevation of 56 m; two smaller towers are also at the sides of the main facade.

The complex include other buildings, such as an 18th-century cloister.


  1. ^ "Paray-le-Monial, France (Saone-et-Loire, Burgundy): Tourism, attractions and travel guide for Paray-le-Monial".
  2. ^ Raymond Anthony Jonas, France and the cult of the Sacred Heart: an epic tale for modern times, (University of California) 2000, ch. "Building the Church of the National Vow".
  3. ^ "Basilica & romanesque art - Office de Tourisme de Paray-le-Monial".


  • Castelfranchi Vegas, L.; A. Conti (1993). L'arte medioevale in Italia e nell'Occidente europeo (in Italian).

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Coordinates: 46°26′59″N 4°7′17″E / 46.44972°N 4.12139°E / 46.44972; 4.12139