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Basilica of Saint-Denis

Royal Necropolis

1, Rue de la Légion d'Honneur
93200 Saint-Denis
01 48 09 83 54
Basilique Saint-Denis
  • Neighborhood :
  • Categories : Museums & Monuments
  • Tags : Churches & Cathedrals
  • Ambiances : Calm & Quiet

Built on a Gallo-Roman cemetery and the burial site of Saint-Denis, parts of the former abbey date back to 1231. The imposing high-vaulted ceiling and stunning stained-glass windows with two beautiful rose windows are a sight in themselves, but what makes this church so special is that it doubles as the necropolis of French royalty.

In total 42 kings, 32 queens, and 63 princess and princesses are entombed here, some with breathtakingly elaborate tombs and sarcophagi. Everybody who was anybody is buried here: from Clovis I (466-511), Pepin the Short (714-768), Isabella of Aragon (1248-1271), Anne of Brittany (1477-1514) who was married to two kings, Henry II (1519-1559) and his wife Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), to Louis XIV (1638-1715) and Louis XVIII (1755-1824). Down below in the crypt, you can also see the mummified heart of Louis XVII in a glass urn.

On the tombs, you can also spot dogs, dragons and plenty of lions if you look closely. The necropolis is considered the most important collection of funerary sculptures dating from the 12th to the 16th century. Also, visit this historic place to see the beginning of Gothic art.

by Ulrike

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