Introduction to the Basilica (or Cathedral) of St. Denis, environs of Paris

This church was an abbey church several centuries before it became a cathedral. The church is commemorated to Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris, who was beheaded at Montmartre (Martyr's Mount) and according to tradition carried that head several miles before expiring. An earlier church was dedicated to his memory and a monastery has been at this location since the 7th century. As early as the 7th century some French kings chose to be buried at this spot and by the 8th century the Carolingian kings were choosing this abbey church for both coronation and burial. Finally, by 996 and until the French Revolution most of the kings of France were buried here. Just prior to and during the French Revolution, much damage was done to the church and the royal tombs were destroyed and their corpses thrown into a communal pit. But in 1805 Napoleon decided to restore the church and to have brought back to the church what remained of the royal tombs as well as sculpture and stained glass.

Index to the Images of the Basilica (or Cathedral) of St. Denis, environs of Paris

130 images

Views of the facade

18 images

Views of the choir

22 images

Views of the nave

15 images

Views of the Valois porch, north transept

8 images

Views of the crypt

13 images

Views of the crypt--capitals

19 images

Tomb of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany

8 images

Tomb of Henry II and Catherine de Medici

7 images

Other tombs

11 images
Decorative details

9 images

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© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.