Around the year 250 after Jesus Christ, Denis, first bishop of Lutetia, the ancient name of Paris, was charged of evangelizing the Gallic territories. He died as a martyr around the year 270, during the Roman persecution, with two of his companions: the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius. The legend has it that he walked with his head cut in his hands to the place where he wanted to be buried: the Catulliacus cemetery. At the end of the persecution, the name of the Village was changed to Saint-Denis and the eponymous church was built on the site of the tomb.
Subsequently, the church of Saint-Denis became the place of burial of the sovereigns. Queen Aregonde, who died about 575, was the first to be buried there. During the Capetian dynasty, 43 kings, 32 queens and 10 great servants of the kingdom were buried there. All the kings of France rest in the basilica except Philip 1st, Louis VII, Louis XI, Charles X and Louis-Philippe. In the 7th century, a royal abbey was built to the south of the religious edifice by order of King Dagobert I. It housed about 150 monks. In 1802, Napoleon 1st transformed the abbey into a house of education of the Legion of Honor.
What is interesting to see in Saint-Denis?
As a historical monument, nothing is better than the Basilica which houses the most important funerary sculpture ensemble in Europe. A journey through time that transports visitors to the rich past of France.
Lovers of green spaces can wander nonchalantly in the Legion of Honor Park, a setting that breathes serenity. For those who are there during the spring, they will have the chance to attend the Tulip Festival. Then there is the Forest Park of La Poudrerie, a green lung of 137 hectares sheltering a fauna and a very rich flora. There are entertainment for all ages throughout the year.
Staying in the 93 and in the borough of Saint-Denis, a jump to the flea market of Saint-Ouen is necessary. An opportunity to set foot in the "world's largest flea market" even if a day is not enough to visit thousands of traders.
The Ourcq canal
The Ourcq canal is a navigable canal of the Parisian Basin. It stretches from Mareuil-sur-Ourcq to the Bassin de la Villette. It was built in the 19th century to supply Paris with drinking water. The canalization begins on the Ourcq River, which takes its source in the meadow of Courmont in the Aisne and flows into the Marne at Mary-sur-Marne. The Ourcq Canal is 96.6 km long and runs through the departments of Seine-Saint-Denis, Oise, Paris and Seine-et-Marne. It lies to the north-east of the capital. Initially, the work was aimed at supplying Paris with firewood by river.
From the "crossroads of canals", that is to say from the Canal Saint-Denis to La Villette, the canal can support 1000-ton boats. It was Leonardo da Vinci who said that the first attempts at locks on the river were made. It is from 1560 that begins the real channeling of the Ourcq. Its vocation was to convey the products of forests to the capital. The Decree of 29 Floreal year X (May 19, 1802) promulgates the study and construction of the canal. The canal was opened during the winter of 1804.
Walk, bike and cruise on the Canal d'Ourcq
From the Bassin de la Villette, let yourself be transported in a timeless journey on the Ourcq canal. A day to sail will carry the visitor far, far away until the time of François 1st, the hunter who began to develop the place. Romantic cruise, gastronomic break in one of the stopovers, crossing of woods of Sevran, passages of the locks await the visitors. In the 93, another way to spend a good time is to walk along the canal on foot or by bike. A refreshing breeze, a breath of fresh air and breathtaking views will be waiting for you.
The Bourget Airport
Paris-Le Bourget airport is the very first civil airport in Paris. It is also the first airport in France to have a hard runway that can be used in all weather conditions. It is located 13 km north-east of Paris and it covers 550 hectares. It straddles two departments and takes a portion of the territory of 4 communes, namely Le Bourget, Dugny, Bonneuil-en-France and Gonesse. Le Bourget airport is open to non-scheduled domestic and international commercial traffic, private aircrafts, instrument flights, and general aviation flights.
What to see at Le Bourget airport
Le Bourget airport is currently dedicated to business aviation. Open 24 hours a day, it hosts private jets and helicopters. At its creation as an aerodrome it is famous for having welcomed Charles Lindbergh, the first aviator to have crossed the Atlantic. After traveling 5,800 kilometers aboard the Spirit of Saint Louis in 33 hours 30 minutes, the American pilot dubbed ‘the Solitary Eagle’ landed on French soil on May 21st, 1927. Statues in honor of the pioneers of the aviation are erected there.
Airbus Helicopters, the world's leader in helicopter industry, has a site bordering the airport. The famous Air and Space Museum is also close to the airport. It is the largest aeronautical museum in France. It stretches over 18,000 square meters and offers an exceptional collection of authentic aircrafts retracing the history of aviation.
How to get from Saint-Denis to Charles de Gaulle Airport by car
From Saint-Denis to CDG airport, the route takes 39 minutes with a distance of 21.8 km. The journey begins by taking the Strasbourg road to the roundabout. From there, you turn towards the Rue du Général Joinville and continue to La Courneuve. It is an opportunity to see the Plaine de France city and its buildings in Art Deco style. By taking the Armistice place then continuing straight on Avenue Jean Mermoz, then Rue Anizan-Cavillon, you arrive at Le Bourget, an important center of French aviation. It is then necessary to take Avenue de la Division Leclerc then the Route de Flandre before joining Avenue Nungesser and Coli to reach Roissy-en-France. 2.9 km from the city exit is Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport.