Saint Denis

Walking in Saint Denis near Paris

Take children to see where the kings and queens of France are buried, and let future soccer stars make their international debut at French national stadium.

Begin by heading through the main entrance of the magnificient Basilique Saint-Denis (1). From the nave, leave by the side door for the Royal Necropolis (2), where more than 70 sculpted royal tombs form a sort of partrait gallery. Admire the double-decker tombs of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany, where the couple is depicted dead below and resurrected on top. Then visit the crypt to see the remains of an earlier church built here in 775.

On leaving, turn left down rue de la Boulangerie and left onto rue Gabriel Péri. Consider visiting the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (3, 22 bis rue Gabriel Péri), housed in a beautiful Carmelite nunnery; one od the nuns’ cells has been re-created upstairs. At the end of the street, turn left onto rue Danielle Casanova, following it around to the right under the freeway. Turn right onto rue du Canal and left onto canalside footpath.

Take the footbridge to rue du Mondial 98, which leads to the Stade de France (4), the spectacular, flying saucer-like stadium where France won the soccer World Cup in 1998. Enter through Porte H for stadium visits. After scanning the museum, young soccer fans will enjoy the behind-the-scenes tour (on French tours, guides will summarize in English), which takes you into the changing and warm-up rooms and lets you run out of tunnel like an international soccer star. The stadium also hosts some unlikely public installations, such as a ski slope in December and a beach in August.

  Metro Station : Saint-Denis-Basilique (Line 13), Saint-Denis-Porte de Paris (Line 13)