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- Church of the Sacred Heart, Paray-le-Monial ›
Church of the Sacred Heart, Paray-le-Monial: Overall view, west end of the church with three-aisled porch and towers
A minor Romanesque basilica. The church is now dedicated to the Sacré-Coeur. The counts of Chalon founded a monastery dedicated to the Virgin and St John the Baptist at Paray-le-Monial in AD 973 and gave it to the Cluny Abbey in 999. By the last quarter of the 11th century the complex stood on its present site. The construction of the church has traditionally been linked to St. Hugh, Abbot of Cluny (1049-1109). Visions experienced by the Visitation nun St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 1670s and 1680s made Paray the centre for the cult of the Sacred Heart. With the consecration of France to the Sacred Heart in 1873, the elevation of the church to minor basilica in 1875 and the canonization of Margaret Mary in 1920, Paray has grown into an important pilgrimage site. The church is well preserved, although the north transept chapel was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century. At the west end of the church stands a three-aisled porch of two bays with a twin-tower façade. This two-storey structure lies on a different axis to the church and probably belonged to an earlier building.