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Spending a Night in Sacré Coeur’s Ephrem guesthouse

More famous for its artistic history and wild nightlife cabaret culture, Montmartre is a hill of contrasts who has yet many unexpected secrets to unveil to the spiritually tempted visitor…

What few people suspect about the Butte however, is that, like Jekyll and Hyde, Montmartre too has a set of faces – a big difference lying between the “Montmartre of feasts and wine” and the hill’s anima sancta illuminated by its eternal prayers.

Sacre Coeur

Since the dawn of time Montmartre has always been a place of worship: from the Gallic Druids and the Romans with their temples honoring Mars and Mercury, to the oldest church in Paris, L’Eglise Saint-Pierre, and finally, the Sacré Coeur Basilica which was built during the 19th century.

An inspiring and rare way to discover this lesser known facet of the hill’s soul would be spending a night in the Maison d’accueil d’Ephrem, the guesthouse of the famous Basilica of Sacré Coeur, which offers you the chance to stay in the heart of Montmartre for as little as 15 euro per night, “prayers for your immortal soul included.”

Annually hordes of visitors tour the Sacré Coeur Basilica, but what most of them don’t have a clue about is that the public can stay overnight at its guesthouse, Ephrem.

The Ephrem Guesthouse as seen from above

The Ephrem Guesthouse as seen from above

Adjacent to the Basilica, the guesthouse is a 53-room dormitory with rooms available to those who wish to pray or come for a pilgrimage, join in the Eucharistic adoration during the day or at night, take part in the liturgical celebrations or reflect spiritually.

 “The Sacré Coeur Basilica is a place of pilgrimage where the chaplains and the Benedictine nuns of the Sacred Heart welcome pilgrims, faithful worshippers and all those who seek God. Since 1885, the prayer of perpetual worship has been the most important part of the life and activities of this worldwide famous sanctuary.”

A breakfast with the sisters

A breakfast with the sisters

Open to pilgrims who have previously booked a room – from organized church trips to Enlightenment seekers performing solo – a convent stay holds many rewards for the faithful and spiritually curious alike.

Other than a chance to converse with spiritual siblings from foreign lands, a night in the Ephrem guesthouse opens a window towards a tradition which has remained unchanged for centuries. Stepping through that window grants you a passport to another era, with values and stories so rare to find in the modern world.

One of the rooms with a crucifix on the wall

One of the rooms with a crucifix on the wall

As part of the epic history of local communities since the Middle Ages, convent stays offer an incomparable cultural experience in itself. A night spent in the Ephrem guesthouse also gives you the perfect chance to forget yourself and overlook your daily worries, free your mind and purge your soul, whilst residing in the frugal surroundings of a room whose only decorations would be an image of the Virgin and a crucifix nailed above your bed.

The cozy garden

The cozy garden

Regardless of your strict religious beliefs, you could also stay in the guesthouse for the cultural experience of it. You won’t need to take vows of chastity and no one would be observing your movements – it’s entirely up to you whether to attend mass or meditate serenely while ambling Montmartre’s steep cobblestoned streets. The only drawback to your stay would be the relatively early curfew (9pm), but that would be a small price to pay for the spiritual journey, religious hospitality and cheap lodging you would be getting in return.

A booking to the Ephrem guesthouse can be made at adoremus@sacre-coeur-montmartre.com  – email replies take about a week.

The Ephrem guesthouse’s address is:

75018 PARIS

+33 1 53 41 89 09