Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis

Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis

Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis
4.5
Historic SitesArchitectural BuildingsReligious Sites
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 4:45 PM
About
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
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  • light122376
    Albuquerque, New Mexico216 contributions
    The Cathedral that started it all!!
    This place has been lovingly restored and is very well done. The architecture and stained glass is worth the visit. The crypt is also very cool. It is about 200 meters from the metro, and a long ride from downtown, but it should not be missed.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
  • Elisa M
    3 contributions
    Way of the beaten path, but worth it.
    We were very glad we took the long metro ride out to Saint Denis to see this important cathedral. We went on the the English Language Tour which we highly recommend to get the most understanding from what you are seeing there. The church is incredibly historically signifant on many levels - religiously, as it is reputed to contain the remains of St. Denis who is credited with bringing Catholicism to Paris, secularly, as it serves as the tomb for all of the French Kings dating back to the 7th century, including Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and architecturally, as its reconstruction in the 12th century is considered the first Gothic structure in Europe. The church also contains preserved sections we were able to see, dating back to its original construction in the 5th-6th centuries and also from its second reconstruction during the time of Charlemagne. The cathedral contains many striking memorial sculptures and gorgeous stained windows. Since the Basilica is in a bordering suburb and not many people know about it, it was quiet, and we were able to take everything in with the sense of reverence and awe that it deserved. We read that Saint Denis is populated by a lot of immigrants, and has had an unfavorable reputation among Parisians over the last century, but as New Yorkers we were undaunted and unfazed at the notion of going to a possibly sketchy area. As it turned out, the metro brings you withing several hundred yards of the Basilica. You come up in a perfectly safe area that seemed to be part of a public college or university. If you are going to be in Paris for a week, or have already been there and seen the usual sights, this is a very worthwhile destination that takes you beyond the typical touristy fare. Highly recommend.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 19, 2023
  • Traveler O
    Washington DC, District of Columbia1,038 contributions
    Basilica of Kings and Queens
    An excellent structure to visit with nearly 1000+ years of history. The tour of the tombs and crypt is worth coming for. Open year round now after a lengthy refurbishment just now coming to an end, it's a a magnificent sight to see in the interior of the basilica. Many of the most famous French royals are entombed here. Be respectful as it remains an active basilica with services, including funerals, weddings, and baptisms taking place. The museum portion is closed during services, so be mindful of this. Entry is free for minors. Highly recommend getting the audio guide (3 Euros each) for an excellent breakdown of all there is to see here. There are also guided tours (in French) at certain times. It can get quite cold inside as the stone remains quite cool, so dress accordingly. Bathrooms on site as well.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 25, 2023
  • Victoria
    188 contributions
    The first Gothic cathedral
    This basilica has the distinction of being both the first Gothic cathedral and the necropolis of the Kings and Queens of France. Entrance to the church is free, but you'll have to pay to see the necropolis, with all the interesting effigies of the French monarchs. And yes, you'll find Marie-Antoinette here too. An audio guide is available for an additional fee, and well worth it. The cathedral recently underwent restoration, so everything is clean and the windows extra bright, even on the cloudy day I was there. Easily accessible by metro. Is it in a dodgy area? Yes, but nothing worse than being in some of the rougher parts of US cities. During the day it's actually not bad if you're just going directly to and from the subway stop.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written February 18, 2024
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sinza2017
Orange, France453 contributions
Jun 2021
Last visited in October 1989, I immensely enjoyed returning to the Basilique St. Denis. I love the intricate work in marble for the various tombstones of the kings and queens of France. What an amazing place of history. When you visit Versailles, you should also visit here.

Metro line 13 takes you to within a three-minute walk of this impressive cathedral. Several eateries on the square on the left as you exit the church building (entry 2).
Written June 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Victoria
188 contributions
Feb 2024 • Solo
This basilica has the distinction of being both the first Gothic cathedral and the necropolis of the Kings and Queens of France.

Entrance to the church is free, but you'll have to pay to see the necropolis, with all the interesting effigies of the French monarchs. And yes, you'll find Marie-Antoinette here too.

An audio guide is available for an additional fee, and well worth it.

The cathedral recently underwent restoration, so everything is clean and the windows extra bright, even on the cloudy day I was there.

Easily accessible by metro.

Is it in a dodgy area? Yes, but nothing worse than being in some of the rougher parts of US cities. During the day it's actually not bad if you're just going directly to and from the subway stop.
Written February 18, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JRM
Penetanguishene, Canada102 contributions
Aug 2023 • Family
Obviously an interesting even captivating attraction. A magnificent 1000 year old church steeped in history and housing the earthly remains of countless kings of France and assorted royalty. It is easy enough to reach: a few steps from the next to last metro stop on line 13. The immediate area surrounding this important historical site is deplorable. To the left as you enter this beautiful architectural treasure there is a derelict housing complex. There is a multitude of homeless, drunks and pushers about. Sadly, the cafes and bars which might serve to offer a peaceful, lingering view of one of the great architectural gems of France are populated by ruffians and staffed by the most unwelcoming waiters imaginable. Not sure what happened here but my recommendation is this: by a ticket in advance; proceed directly from the metro to the church and enjoy its wonderous interior and attractions; once you leave the church, take a quick photo in front and proceed back to the metro. Don't stop for a drink, a snack or a thought. Get back on the metro and back into central Paris. There is nothing else worth seeing in that frightful neighborhood. France at its best; France at its worst.
Written September 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

StanduMan
Hastings on Hudson, NY214 contributions
Sep 2022
Having taught the history of western Europe for decades, I regularly mentioned Abbe Suger and the creation of the Gothic style. Although I had visited several Gothic cathedrals throughout Europe, I had never visited the birthplace of that style of architecture. I finally did last month. The basilica reveals the first unified large scale use of pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and flying buttresses. Obviously, the building is not as grand as later Gothic cathedrals, but this first Gothic structure exhibits the form and beauty of all later recreations. As importantly, the church houses the tombs of scores of French monarchs in interesting and beautifully sculpted tombs and vaults. The basilica offers two history lessons - architecture and monarchy.
Written October 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jules060617
Lausanne, Switzerland1,339 contributions
Mar 2022
The Cathedral is worth visiting in its own right with its own right for its magnificent façade and its three portals, the central one dating back to the first half of the 12th century. What makes the Basilica a must see is of course the fact that it is the resting ground of French royalty going back to the days of Clovis and le bon Roi Dagobert. The tour of the cathedral becomes a wonderful overview of sculpture, further enhanced by the 12th crypt. This is a must see for anyone visiting Paris. It is a short half hour on the metro system.
Written May 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Trekker2020
Sitges, Spain2,020 contributions
Nov 2019 • Friends
Magnificent architectural jewel rivals Notre Dame in beauty and historical significance. While a little out of the way from the city center, saint Denis is easily reached by metro and train. The cathedral is not as visited as other landmarks so it is delightful to look and contemplate without fighting the crowds. We loved the high ceilings and impressive architecture as well as the history in this amazing place. Worth visiting anytime, it is especially timely now that beautiful Notre Dame is closed for repairs.
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Margo R
Alexandria, VA58 contributions
Dec 2019
This visit was pre-pandemic. I had a general idea of what to expect at the Basilica and decided to go there because I had a free afternoon in Paris. I bought my ticket at the entrance and started to explore. As often happens, the best places are the unexpected!
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about European Middle Ages and Renaissance history but Saint Denis put me to the test! The Meravingian, Carolingian, Capetian, Bourbon and Orleans including their famous and infamous spouses are here, or at least their bones are all here.
My only regret was I should have gone with a guide...it was just too, too much for me to take in on the fly. A definite will go back to (after the pandemic, of course).
As noted by other reviewers, this is not in the best neighborhood and I did not see anywhere that looked inviting for lunch.
Don't let the neighborhood deter you. It is really a must see for anyone with an interest in history!!!
Written November 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fred M
Summerville, SC2,043 contributions
May 2019
The Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, the burial place for the kings of France as early as the 6th century, is a magnificent architectural structure that has great historical significance and typifies the beauty of Paris' many churches. A visit does take one back in history and provides a sense of peace and tranquility. Truly a must visit for those who appreciate fine architecture, French history, and the beauty of Paris churches.
Written April 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dave L
Colorado Springs, CO28 contributions
Feb 2022 • Solo
Super awesome. Went on a day in January during general strikes. Technically the church was closed due to the strikes. So we went to the front door and it was cracked open. We went inside and someone was there who told us the church was closed but to go ahead and walk around. No lights. Freezing. No sound but our shoes on the floor. No one there but us. It was awesome and rather intoxicating. Not a big fan of the neighborhood. But felt safe on the train.
Written February 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NorthEastnostromo
Stockton-on-Tees, UK134 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
Yes this is on the outskirts but classing this as ‘St Dennis’ rather than Paris means that casual readers of Trip adviser will miss it.
I would say that for anyone interested in churches that this is a ‘must see’ , and there is a good audio guide. Very easy to get to on the No 13 metro line.
Written March 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)