The Basilica Saint-Denis

The Sepulcher of French Kings

The metro line № 13 will lead you to the northern suburb of Paris - Seine-Saint-Denis, where you will find the oldest and one of the most beautiful gothic churches of Paris and suburbs, say of all France. Here stays the Basilica of Saint-Denis. It contains over 70 tombs, recumbent statues and funeral monuments of the Kings and Queens of France.

It is believed that under this basilica in the old crypt were once buried three Christian martyrs – the first bishop of Paris - Dionysius and his two companions- priest Rusticus and deacon Elefterius, all three beheaded by the Romans on the Hill of Montmartre in 250 ad. for their fervent missioning for the Christ. The basilica was founded in 475 by the nun Genevieve – later recognized as patroness of Paris.
Nearly all French monarchs beginning with the founder of the Capetian dynasty - Hugues Capet (in 996) up to the sunset of the Royal Bourbon dynasty in 1789 were buried in the Basilica of Saint-Denis. In the 13th century the king Louis IX (Saint-Louis) ordered to transfer to the Basilica of Saint-Denis the remains of the Kings of the two previous dynasties - the Merovingians, and the Carolingians.

During the French Revolution all tombs were opened and remains of the Kings were dropped into a ditch outside the Basilica. At present all the remains are located in the ossuaries in the crypt of Saint-Denis Basilica.

Above the tombs inside the basilica one can see a unique collection of the recumbent funeral statuary representing features of funeral art of different periods of French history – the early and later Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 17-18 century, the era of Restoration.

Before the revolution of 1789, the royal attributes of power (the Royal Regalia) - the sword of Charlemagne, the hand of Justice, the scepter - were held at the Saint-Denis Basilica to be used during the ceremony of the French Kings Coronation in Reims. Now the Royal Regalia are exhibited at the Louvre.

PROGRAM

  • History of the construction of the Basilica, the Abbot Suger;
  • Architecture (the crypt, the chapel of Bourbons, the ossuary, the altar, other chapels, stained glass windows) ;
  • Funeral sculpture.

Price and timing

The tour lasts 2 hours.

  • 130 € for the group of 1-2 people;
  • 160 € for the group of 3-6 people.

Price of tickets is not included.

Вверх