Your local guide will meet you in downtown Paris, and escort you on a 2.5-hour visit to the world’s first Gothic cathedral, the burial site of the kings and queens of France. The architecture of the structure will take your breath away, and the tombs of the monarchs will inspire you with over 1500 years of royal grandeur.
According to catholic tradition, St Denis was the first bishop of Paris. He gave a miraculous sermon after his decapitation, holding his head under his arm while walking to this site! The Gothic edifice was begun nearly 900 years later, in the first half of the 12th century well before Notre Dame de Paris. Saint Louis elected this abbey for his family’s tombs, and as a result the basilica now contains a surpassing collection of intricately sculpted sarcophagi.
This official necropolis of the French Monarchy features the tombs of 43 kings and 32 queens, going back to 7th century king Dagobert and extending through to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. A guided visit of the site indeed encompasses much of the history of Paris itself.
The zealous Revolutionaries went to the trouble of exhuming all their former rulers and tossing the desecrated bodies into a common grave. With the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, the king’s ancestral tombs had to be somehow reassembled... but how to sort out the scrambled remains? Your guide will reveal all, including the tragic demise of the guillotined monarchs’ young son, whose memory is honored by a crystal urn purportedly containing the dauphin’s heart.
With uniquely influential and beautiful architecture, and fascinating stories of numerous powerful and poignant personalities, the Saint Denis Basilica tour is sure to please.