This was my third visit to Sacre-Coeur and I still rate this church as one of my most favourite religious places is the world. However, with each visit, I dread the pick pockets, beggars and opportunists hoping to make a quick buck off visitors.
We arrived from Anvers station and wandered up the little streets to the Basilica. At the base of the church, the option to walk the steep stairs or take the funicular (for a few Euros). We walked as it provided a great opportunity to enjoy the views of the Basilica and sunshine of the day (plus the queues looked like a 20 min wait!). From previous trips, we were as prepared as we could be ignoring the bracelet sellers (a stern no, head down and no eye contact) beggars and general pests around the site. Toilets can be found from down some stairs from the right of the Basilica entrance and are run without charge by a lovely, friendly group of ladies who accept gold coin donations.
We explored this magnificent church without wait and thoroughly soaked up it's beauty as well as respecting and embracing it's religious offerings. (Disappointing however that Gaming Style slot machines were installed to sell souvenir coins - which seems out of place).
After visiting the basilica, we elected to purchase a visit to the Crypt and Tower (two separate options but can be purchased bundled together for circa $16 Euros) which I would highly recommend. The Tower has a further 300 steep steps but the views of Paris and the surrounding areas are even more spectacular than the base and offer glimpses of parts of the Basilica closed off and the Church Bell. This was such a highlight from our visit (and a first). The crypt was very peaceful and had very few visitors but we enjoyed wandering around the seeing/reading the history.
We had the opportunity to visit early in the morning (around 10am) when the crowds were limited but suspect some of the unsavoury aspects of the area may come to light as the day progressed.
This continues to be a must visit when ever I am in Paris.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.