Our main reason for visiting was to see Marie Antionette's grave & we expected to stay for a short visit. Instead my 11 year old daughter and I stayed hours! We caught the metro from central Paris & it takes about 30 minutes to arrive. You can tell you are going to a poorer area and lots of migrants were on the train but we felt safe in the middle of the day. Not so sure I'd want to visit after dark! We had no idea where to go when we got to the station at Saint Denis but after walking out of the metro & around the corner, found the basilica right in front of us. It was wonderful to see the place virtually empty. No gypsies or Nigerian's ready to scam the tourists, it was just us and the locals.
The basilica is quite breathtaking from the inside and out. I enjoyed it more than Notre Dame. It cost me around 6 euro to enter the crypt & back of the church, my daughter was free. You can hire audio guides or small signs around the church give you a fair idea of what you are looking at. I was expecting maybe 10 or so mortuary displays but there are easily 100. Just about every king, queen or royal in France is buried here and history oozes from the walls. The stained glass windows are also magnificent. The crypt is creepy but interesting and there was a special exhibit on downstairs while we were there on Henry of Navarre. There is a small church shop and theatrette and also clean toilets as you exit. The best part of this place is the lack of tourists, we virtually had the place to ourselves and could take hundreds of photos without annoying the regular church goers.
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