Basilica of Saint Denis

Basilica of St. Denis

The Basilica (often referred to as the "cathedral") of Saint Denis is a world-famous Gothic work that dates back to 1140. It is one of the first purely Gothic churches in the world.

The basilica can be found on the northern edge of the Paris agglomeration in the town of Saint-Denis and is dedicated to the patron saint of France, Saint Divis.

According to the original design, the basilica was classically intended to have two towers in the façade, but in the end it remained unfinished forever and boasts only one tower.

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The resting place of French kings

St. Denis Cathedral is one of the most important religious buildings in France. In fact, the basilica has been the burial place for the remains of French kings for centuries. All kings from the 10th century to 1789, with three exceptions, found their final resting place here. The cathedral is therefore often called the French necropolis.

During the Great French Revolution, some of the tombs were opened and the remains of some kings who were out of favor with the revolutionary authorities were moved to mass graves near the basilica.

In the mid-19th century, when the Bourbons took control of France after Napoleon, they had the mass grave opened in order to move the remains of the kings back to the basilica. However, it was impossible to tell which remains belonged to whom, so a crypt and ossuary was built in the church for this purpose, where all the bodies from the mass grave lie behind two marble slabs with names.

The interior with charming stained glass windows

The interior of the basilica is built in a simple Gothic style characterized by slender columns and magnificent stained glass windows.

In this respect, the Basilica of Saint-Denis is one of the most beautiful churches in the whole world and should definitely be visited, especially from the inside.

Admission and opening hours

Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:15 pm (April to September). or only until 5:15 pm in winter. On Sundays it opens only at 12:00.

Last entry is possible 30 minutes before closing time.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online for the exact time with no queue. However, if you buy tickets on the spot, the queues are not long (maximum 5 minutes) and you do not have to plan the exact time of your visit.

  • Adults - 11 eur
  • Children and students under 26 from the EU - free

You only have to pay to enter the crypt with the tombs of the kings. You can see the basilica itself (without the crypt) for free.

Official website:

How to get there

Saint Denis is still in urban zone 3, so the Paris ticket and the t+ ticket apply here.

  • Metro 13 - station Basilique de Saint-Denis approx. 230 metres
    • Place de Clichy (Montmartre), Gare Saint-Lazare, Champs-Elysées, Petit + Grand Palais, Pont Alexandre III, Invalid, Gare Montparnasse
    • On the way from the centre, the line branches and only trains in the direction "Saint-Denis Universite" go to the Basilique de Saint-Denis station.
  • RER D and H trains - station Saint-Denis approx. 1,100 metres
    • RER D - Gare du Nord, Chatelet, Gare de Lyon
    • Line H - Gare du Nord
  • Tram T1 and T5 - stop Marché de Saint-Denis approx. 1 100 metres

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