My Travel Blog

Paray-le-Monial and the Sacred Heart

We spent a night in Montceau-les-Mines only to leave the next day.  The town looked like it had great potential, but ended up doing little for us.  I have to admit the brand new supermarche´ was impressive, especially with its dock on the canal.

“When this pretty young woman saw Rabelo, she asked me if I needed a girlfriend. I told her I already had two.”

“Leaving Montceau-les-Mines.”

“A nuclear power plant along the canal.”

Our next stop was Paray-le-Monial.  We had never heard of this small town, but apparently it is a Christian spiritual center with thousands of pilgrims arriving each year.  Even Pope John Paul II came here in 1986.  A beautiful park was built for his visit, and we were fortunate to tie up next to it.

“A street in Paray-le-Monial that hasn’t changed much in 300 years.”

Between 1673 and 1675 Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque saw the apparition of the heart of Jesus or the Sacred Heart.  I’m not sure how he did it, but her confessor, Saint Claude Colombiere was able to authenticate her vision. Since the 17th century things have changed a bit.  Back then when you had a vision they made you a saint.  Nowadays you’re schizophrenic. There are a number of beautiful small chapels and churches in the town, and then there was La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (The Sacred Heart Basilica).  The church was started in the 12th century, and is considered an architectural masterpiece.  It was originally dedicated to The Virgin Mary, but in 1875 it was raised to the level of Basilica and dedicated to the Sacred Heart.  Not only was the basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart, but in 1873 it was decided, after the first pilgrimage to Paray-le-Monial, to dedicate France to the Sacred Heart.  All of these events were linked to the decision made in 1870 to build a church on Mont-Marte in the center of Paris.  This is the dazzling white church, Sacre-Coeur that stands over the city of lights.

“La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.”

“The old Hotel de Ville or Town Hall.”

“Some artwork on the streets of Paray-le-Monial.”

In the 17th century Paray-le-Monial was also one of the few places where Protestants and Catholics managed to live side by side without killing each other.  It all came to an end in 1685 with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

“The French are passionate about their fishing. This fisherman was using 8 poles.”

“Friends wave to us as we pass on the canal.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.