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Discover the burial church of the French monarchs: the basilica of Sain-Denis

Highlights

  • Discover the city’s favourite attractions, museums and guided tours with the Paris City Pass – one ticket, all included! 
  • Included in your Paris City Pass is the Paris Museum Pass which gives you free and priority entry to the city's most popular museums and monuments! 
  • No advance booking is required for this attraction – your City Pass is your admission ticket 
  • Saint-Denis is the final resting place of the kings and queens of France 
  • The most important European collection of funerary sculptures 
  • The cathedral is considered one of the founding buildings of the Gothic period, built in the 12th and 13th centuries 
  • See the fantastic stained-glass windows 

One of the first Gothic churches: simply breathtaking

What awaits you on site

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The former Benedictine monastery impresses with its unique atmosphere and is the final resting place of many kings and queens, princes and princesses. 

The church is dedicated to St Dionysius, the patron saint and first bishop of Paris. From the end of the 10th century until 1830, almost all French kings and many queens were buried there. The basilica was elevated to the status of cathedral of the diocese of Saint-Denis in 1966. 

The history of Saint-Denis Basilica

In the 4th century, a burial chapel was built over the grave of St Dionysius of Paris. Legend has it that he picked up his head after his beheading on Montmartre and walked to the site of today’s church, where he fell over and was buried. There is evidence of a monastery on this site around 625. Chlothar I (King of the entire Frankish Empire from 558-561) in particular made rich gifts to the monastery, so that he was regarded by the monks of later times as the founder of the monastery. He made St-Denis Abbey his burial place and turned the complex into the Merovingian house monastery. However, subsequent dynasties also left their mark and their dead. The Capetian dynasty in particular can be found here. The royal tombs were badly damaged during the French Revolution.

St-Denis is considered one of the founding buildings of the Gothic period. Whether it really was the first Gothic church is disputed, possible options for this title would be St-Denis, St-Martin-des-Champs and St-Etienne in Sens. Saint-Denis is certainly breathtaking and well worth seeing.

How to get there

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Address:
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur 93200 Saint-Denis 

Good to know

  • Opening hours:
    April – September:
    Monday – Saturday 10.00 am – 6.15 pm
    Sunday 12.00 pm – 6.15 pm
    October – March:
    Monday – Saturday 10.00 am – 5.15 pm
    Sunday 12.00 pm – 5.15 pm 

The entrance ticket for Saint-Denis Cathedral is included in your City Pass


 

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