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“Worth the trip out” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis

Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis
1, rue de la Legion d'honneur, 93200 Saint-Denis, France
01 48 09 83 54
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Type: Architectural Buildings, Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Cultural
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Owner description: The earliest masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, a royal abbey and major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages, the Basilica Cathedral assumed its principal role as the burial place for the kings of France as early as the 6th century. Despite being ransacked during the Revolution, the basilica houses over seventy royal tombs including those of Dagobert, François I, Catherine de Medicis and Louis XVI. Open:> 1st April to 30th September: Monday to Saturday: from 10 a.m. to 6.15 p.m. ; Sunday: from noon to 6.15 p.m.> 1st October to 31st March: Monday to Saturday: from 10 a.m. to 5.15 p.m. ; Sunday: from noon to 5.15 p.m. Last admission 30 minutes before closing time. Closed:> 1st January, 1st May and 25th December.> During some masses. Admission fees: Adults : 7,5€; Concessions (18 to 25) = 4,50 €; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups
Portland, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Worth the trip out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

I think most people miss Saint Denis because it's out in the burbs on its own, but it's worth the trip. The monarch who created my last name was buried here along with pretty much every other French king with one or two exceptions, so my visit had special meaning for me.

The church is beautiful and full of stone coffins covered with graffiti from the French Revolution.

The neighborhood is very sketchy. Just be street smart and you'll be fine.

note: I actually visited in November 2011 but this site won't let me go back that far in the date, so that's not accurate. Ignore that.

Visited January 2013
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England
Top Contributor
248 reviews 248 reviews
124 attraction reviews
Reviews in 149 cities Reviews in 149 cities
277 helpful votes 277 helpful votes
“Gothic Style - but a lot of renovation in progress”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

Its now very easy to reach the Saint-Denis basilica, as you can take the RER to Saint-Denis station, then a tram from just outside the station. The inside of the cathedral is really impressive, and the atmosphere was quiet and completative, as its off the beaten track for the tourist hordes. There would have been a good view of the cathedral, but the renovation work rather spoilt that - see the attached pics. Whilst you are in Saint-Denis there is a shopping area, with C&A, and next to the market is Paris' newest tramline which heads north into the suburbs, and is unusual as it has a single central rail.

Visited November 2013
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Toronto, Ontario
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“With the trip metro trip...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

I am not the hugest fan of churches or burial sites but I found this was really interesting. Other reviewers have provided the history and how to get there so all I wanted to add was it is definitely worth the metro ride. A suggestion, if you don't speak/read a lot of French, get the audio device. I was with someone who could translate most of the descriptions and even at that, I wished I had picked up the English audio device.
It just happened I was there the first Sunday of the month so the entrance was free.
A very interesting attraction with so much history! It really was fascinating.

Visited November 2013
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Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
112 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
163 helpful votes 163 helpful votes
“This is where Gothic style started”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2013

If you have an interest in European cathedrals, it is worth the trip out here from Paris. It's an easy (but longish) trip on the metro. When you come up the escalators in St. Denis, turn left. Walk around the buildings. You can't miss the church on your left.

This church is the historical burial site for French royalty since early times. Unfortunately, much the original monuments were damaged, but many were recovered/restored. It is definitely worth the price to pay to get in to the crypt and the parts of the church where all monuments are. You can see a couple without paying. The church itself is free to get in.

This church is where Gothic style was first implemented. It is worth it to see the building just for that. It was built long before the city extended out this far. Anyone who has more than just a passing interest in "old European churches" would find a trip out here worth it.

Some of the other reviewers talk about the neighborhood. Yes, it's pretty sketchy, to say the least. The area right around the church seemed fine in the middle of the day. And there appears to be a few restaurants nearby. Personally, unless I knew where I was going, I wouldn't venture far from the church area. And I wouldn't be out there after dark. I made the trip out to the church one afternoon on my own when my travelling companions were all worn out from many days of sightseeing. I had no problem doing this by myself and never felt unsafe, but when I travel, I tend to keep my wits about me. And when you go to St. Denis, I recommend you do the same. Frankly, going out here was one of the highlights of the time I spent in Paris on this past trip.

Visited April 2013
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Albany, New York
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Worth the Metro Ride”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

We made a special effort to visit this magnificant cathedral in the northern reaches of Paris. We took the No 13 metro to the next to last stop at Basilique St Denis (about a 45 min ride from the 6th Arr) and were rewarded with a step back in time to the grandeur of French Rotalty in the first Gothic cathedral in France. This early form of Gothic architecture may lack the details and sophistication of later buildings but its stained glass is exceptional. We were rewarded with the appearance of the sun after we arrived and the light and colors were amazing inside. It is certainly as grand as Notre Dame and even rivals Sainte Chapelle! The mortuary statues of the Bourbon Kings and Queens buried there are also remarkable in artistry and condition. The crypt is accessible and well presented with bilingual signage.

Visited October 2013
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