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St Denis Commune

St Denis has always been associated with Royal burials and virtually all of the French Kings were entombed here and the queens were crowned in the elegant Basilique St-Denis.

Saint Denis was apparently the first bishop of Paris and is now known as the patron saint of France, which is where the name came from for this area in Paris.  He was martyred in about the year 250 and buried in the cemetery of Catolacus and then Sainte Genevieve had a small chapel erected over St Denis's tomb, as it was such a popular destination for pilgrims and a place of worship for many, many people.

St Denis Commune

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St Denis Commune

But it was King Dagobert I that had the chapel rebuilt and turned it into a royal monastery, which we all now know as the Saint Denis Basilica.

Yet, St Denis as it is today, is a leafy suburb that has another far more modern claim to fame - the Stade de France which was built for the 1998 World Cup and is a futuristic stadium that is used for both major sporting and concert events.

Saint Denis is located only about 10km from the centre of Paris and is a commune in the Northern suburbs of Paris in the department of the Seine-Saint-Denis on the River Seine in France.  The population is estimated at around 95,500 and the inhabitants are known as Dionysiens.

It has always been a working class industrial area with factories producing such things as glass, chemicals, machinery, metal goods, etc although in recent years this has declined, but with the Stade de France being built, St Denis has become a thriving community yet again and visitors today will find this a youthful community with around 1 in 3 residents now being under the age of 25.

There are also a large number of immigrants, especially Muslims from former French colonies, which are concentrated in this area.

Saint Denis also has a well-known market, which is one of the largest in the Ile de France region and it plays host to numerous events every year, not just concerts and matches held at the stadium, but also festivals such as the festival of Saint Denis for classical music and the Banlieues Bleues Festival for jazz music.

St Denis also draws tourists to the Municipal Museum that has a complete section which is devoted to Paul Eluard, a 20th century poet.

Apart from visiting the Stade de France football stadium, or the St Denis Basilica you can also visit the tombs of past French Kings and the life sized figures of these monarchs, but if you want more history or perhaps modern art, then the Musee d'Art et Histoire is worth a visit, whilst spending time in this area of France.

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