Top Cultural Sites of 2014
The Paris Office of Tourism announced in July the 10 most visited tourist attractions among its museums and monuments. The perennial head of the class was Notre- Dame Cathedral with 14.3 million visitors. It was followed by the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, which sits at the top of Montmartre, the highest point in the city. In third place was the Musée du Louvre who's 9.1 million bested both New York's Metropolitan Museum as well as London's National Gallery and British Museum, all coming in around 6 million each. The Eiffel Tower was next at 7.1 million. I would have put it much higher, but the number is just for those who buy tickets and take the elevator and not those who walk under it! The numbers drop quickly after the big four: The Museum of Natural History, 3.6 million, The Musée d'Orsay, 3.5 million, the Pompidou Center, 3.4 million, the Cité Science and Industry Museum, 2.3 million, and a real surprise, The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 2.0 million, (more on this below), and at number 10, the Grand Palais, which is known for its oversized installation temporary art exhibits
Chapel of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal
Located near the southern end of the rue du Bac at number 145, near the Bon Marché department store, the Chapel of Or Lady of the Miraculous Medal has a plain street entrance that could easily be missed by those walking by. A long courtyard leads to it. The chapel sits at the place where the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830. The chapel had been built in 1815, originally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Catherine, then a novice sister of the Daughters of Charity, was visited by a series of apparitions by Mary, St-Vincent and Jesus. Mary told her to have a medal made and that those who wore it would given "abundant graces". The medal is sold in the adjoining shop. By 1839 over 10 million medals had been distributed and by 1876, the number was over a billion. Countless miracles have been attributed to them. The chapel has become a pilgrimage site, like Lourdes, and draws groups from around the world. There continuous services and it is always full. We have purchased many medals there for friends. It is a moving sight for believers as well as non-believers.