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Spotlight on Saint-Denis Paris Head to this district in the suburbs of Paris for its incredible Basilica, last resting place of the Kings and Queens of France. Janine Marsh explores... Saint Denis is a suburb of Paris located 10km north of the city centre. This district took its name from a Christian Martyr buried there after being beheaded on nearby Montmartre (circa 250 AD). It was said that he carried his head to the site of the current Basilica of Saint Denis indicating where he wanted to be buried.His tomb became a place of worship on which a chapel was built and he is the patron Saint of France. Saint Denis the district, is the last resting place of many kings and queens of France, buried in the enormous Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis.
Culture Vulture The Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis was the world's first monumental masterpiece of Gothic art. Work began on the main building in 1122 thouth there was a church there before. The royal necropolis houses the tombs of 75 French kings and queens, and 63 princes and princesses through the centuries. It contains some incredible funerary sculptures, many of them depicting the royal likenesses, dating from the 12th to 16th centuries. Inside the church is bathed in the light of 12th and 19th century stained glass windows. Hire an audio guide to learn the incredible history of this enormous church. The Museum of Art and History, housed in an old Carmelite convent, has rich collections reflecting the city's history. It also has lovely gardens that are just perfect for resting on a hot Paris day. Details: museesaint-denis.com Where to Eat In this suburban district there are plenty of restaurants and traditional French brasseries but it's an easy metro journey into the centre of Paris for many more options. Locals love: Les Mets du Roy, a traditional brasserie opposite the Basilica (4 rue de la Boulangerie). Have a snack: La La Bigoudène Café serves pancakes and great coffee plus snacks (11 Allée des 6 Chapelles). Close by at Saint-Ouen (see Inside Track) there are a plethora of quirky and charming restaurants such as Le Bistrot Paul Bert (18 rue Paul Bert) which serves exceptionally good food. The market streets are lined with dozens of authentic and enchanting little cafés like The Very Little Dining Room, (Allee 3 Marche Serpette 110 rue des Rosiers).
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