The Hôtel de Ville de Saint Denis!

Ok so coming here for the big one I stuck around to do some walks in daytime on a nice Saturday mid day. This is Saint Denis in dept 93 Seine Saint Denis north of Paris. Come here for the Basilica of course,but do walk around and you will see the real beat of life in France away from the glamour.

Let me tell you a bit on the city of Saint Denis and its Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall!

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Saint-Denis is a city bordering Paris, located on the north in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, No 93 which it is sub-prefecture, in the region of Île-de-France. It is the most populated department, ahead of Montreuil, and the 3rd in the region of Ile-de-France after Paris and Boulogne-Billancourt in the Hauts-de-Seine (92). Saint-Denis, still known as a bastion of the French Communist Party, is to date the most populated city, and one of only two cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants, with Montreuil, to be led by a communist mayor!

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Saint-Denis borders the cities of Paris, Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, Île-Saint-Denis, Epinay-sur-Seine, Villetaneuse, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Stains, La Courneuve and Aubervilliers. The city is served by the A1 highway or autoroute du nord   which connects it to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Le Bourget airports and the A86, as well as by the boulevard périphérique around Paris.

At the beginning of the 20C, the city was a knot of tramway lines that connected the city to its neighbors of Épinay-sur-Seine and Enghien – Trinité, Pierrefitte, Stains, Aubervilliers, Villeneuve-la-Garenne, Saint-Ouen -sur-Seine and Paris .These lines were all removed before 1938. The city is now served by several major lines of transport including again the tramways , metro RER etc.

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Between the re-designed Porte de Paris gate and the Basilica, the Legion-d’Honneur Park adjoins the gardens and outbuildings of the Legion of Honor’s Education House, which occupies the buildings of the old abbey. Dominated by the Basilica of Saint-Denis, flanked by the garden Pierre de Montreuil, the old center has several remarkable monuments such as this imposing city/town hall, Church of Saint-Denis-de-l’Estrée, royal abbey, porch of the former convent of the Ursulines , former convent of the Carmelites (Museum of Saint-Denis), former headquarters of the newspaper L’Humanité, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, etc.

At the crossroads of rue Gabriel-Péri and the rue de la Boulangerie, the café “Au Pavillon” was already known five centuries ago to be a hunting lodge of kings of France who took a break. Henri IV had his bachelor apartment on rue de la Boulangerie where he was preparing the speeches he was going to deliver at the Basilica. Home to the biggest market of the Île-de-France on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday morning (see previous post), the most centenary market hall   reopened at the end of 2006, after renovation. It now has a rainwater recovery system, used for post-market cleaning, and solar panels for lighting. The city center has been pedestrianized since March 11, 2005. The Basilique de Saint-Denis metro station is in remote correspondence with the T1 tramway, close to a major urban hypermarket.

At the beginning of the 7C, Dagobert rebuilt the oratory and the priory built by Saint Genevieve in 475, and created a fair which became in the 12C, the fair of Landy; from the Middle Ages, merchants came from all over Europe and Byzantium; the fair was inaugurated each year by the rector of the University of Paris who came there in great ceremony The church was rebuilt by Suger, who became abbot of Saint-Denis in 1122, advisor to Louis VI, and ruled in the absence of Louis VII, gone to the Holy Land. It was he who, the first time, handed to a king of France the banner, which became famous under the name of its banner.

Louis XI rebuilt almost entirely the sanctuary, the transepts and the nave at his own expense. The ancient tombs were rebuilt in the transept and choir of the abbey church, which for centuries was an object of admiration for visitors. This monastery, so to speak national, has always been in the same veneration since Louis IX.

In 1806, Napoleon I, by a decree, consecrated the old church to the burial of the emperors, there instituted a retreat for the bishops over 60 years, and a house of education for the daughters of the legionaries.

Taken by the enemy in 1814, Saint-Denis was one of the first to declare himself in favor of the Bourbons. In 1815, the city gave the same marks of love to the son of his former benefactors. In 1817, Louis XVIII ordered that the remains of kings, removed from the tombs in 1793, be reinstated there. In 1852, Napoleon III gathered the cure of Saint-Denis in the chapter of the basilica. The church, as a whole, dates from the 12-13C, but since 1858 the sanctuary has returned to its original state. On August 27, 1944, General Leclerc’s troops entered the city for its liberation.

The city of Saint Denis more on its history in French: City of Saint Denis on its history

The tourist office for Seine Saint Denis 93 in English: Tourist office of dept 93 Seine Saint Denis

Hope you enjoy the tour,if in town for the Basilica which is a must , then why not take a walk around the Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall of Saint Denis. Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!


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