Home

 Books, Film & Music

 Travel 

 Food & Wine

Gallery

Armchair Uzs

Family & Friends

Sports

Welcome to Armchair France

 


ARMCHAIR PARIS


 

Le Basilique de Saint-Denis
May 2007

May 11, 2007 --  The Basilique of Saint-Denis has been on my list of things to see in Paris next time there, so there I went on this Friday morning. Why the fascination? First, it's very, very old and very, very big. Second, it has some pretty spectacular stained glass windows and vaulted arches. Third, it doubles as a crypt for most of the kings and queens of France from before France was officially even France. It's sacred, artistic, historic and creepy all at the same time. Great combination as far as I'm concerned.
     As early as the 5th century, Frankish aristocrats were buried in the Basilica; Dagobert was the first king to be buried there in 639.  Over the centuries the Saint-Denis basilica became the "Kings' Crypt".  The place is filled with magnificent sculpted tombs: Clovis is here, Charlemagne is here, Phillip le Beau, Francois I, most of the Louis kings are here. Many infamous queens are here as well, including Catherine de Medici, Isabeau of Bavaria, and Marie-Antoinette. There's the story about Louis XVII, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's son, having his heart DNA-tested a few years ago to prove he could be brought here to join his family. Today, 43 kings, 32 queens and 10 great servants of the kingdom of France repose here. To add to the list of historic characters, Jeanne d'Arc laid down her arms at the cathedral in the late 1400s in homage to Saint-Denis, the patron saint of Paris. I got my daily dose of French culture and history via this collection of sculpted tombs housed in a magnificent church on the north side of town.

Beautiful windows...


 

Eerie sculptures...

     
     

Back to Armchair Paris

 

Home

 Books, Film & Music

 Travel 

 Food & Wine

Gallery

Armchair Uzs

Family & Friends

Sports

Email us your news and comments:  info@armchairfrance.com



2000- 2007 by Armchair France.  All rights reserved.  Not to be reproduced without permission from authors.