Saint Denis Basilica, Necropolis of the kings of France Saint-Denis : Saint-Denis Tourism

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Saint denis basilica, necropolis of the kings of france

Saint denis  basilica, necropolis  of the kings of france
Saint denis basilica, necropolis of the kings of france
1 Place de la Légion d'Honneur
93200 Saint-denis

Historical heritage

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The old royal abbey of Saint-Denis, has marked the history and art in France! Indeed, it is home to a necropolis where lie 43 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses and 10 great servants of the kingdom. It is one of the main pieces of the Gothic art...

The church stands on the site of a Gallo-Roman cemetery, burial site of Saint-Denis, patron saint of Paris and the Seine-St Denis, first bishop of the capital of France. He died as a martyr around 250, with six other missionaries who had come to bring the Christian faith in Gaul, at Montmartre (Mount of Martyrs).
Legend said that he would have raised, would have picked up his head and walked to the location of the basilica before falling.

In the seventh century, Dagobert I, king of the Franks built a large abbey church and was the first king to be buried there. It was then that the Church became the burial of most of the kings of France. Among other residents, we can find the tombs of Henri II, Catherine de Medici, Louis XVII's heart.

In 754, Pepin the Short was crowned king by the pope. His son Charlemagne built the new Carolingian basilica. In the early twelfth century, Abbot Suger, adviser to Louis VI and Louis VII, decided to enlarge the church giving birth to the first Gothic church in France.

The Basilica of Saint Denis is the place of conservation of Regalia, objects used during the coronation taking place at the Cathedral of Reims : crown, scepter and sword.

However French History precipitated the royal abbey of Saint-Denis to its decline : the Hundred Years War, the religious wars, political unrest marked the decline. The tomb of Saint Louis, a goldsmith work, was destroyed during the Hundred Years War. The royal necropolis was also damaged during the Revolution : desecration of graves, breach of royal tombs... those which contained bodies were also thrown into the pauper's grave. The revolutionaries attacked the symbols of the monarchy, however, the church escaped total destruction.

Napoleon ordered the restoration of the building. Then Louis XVIII gave its role as a cemetery back to the abbey. Restoration work continued throughout the nineteenth century and were led by architects and Debret Viollet-le-Duc from 1846.

In 1862, the basilica had been classified as an historic monument.

Every year, in May and June, the Royal Basilica hosts many concerts at the Festival of Saint-Denis, and receives great musicians for concerts of classical, contemporary and popular music.

Author : Bérengère©

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