"Amble through charmingly eclectic St Denis" Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis Tip by CatherineReichardt

  St Denis Town Hall
by CatherineReichardt

There is plenty to like about the somewhat gritty working class suburb of St Denis, whose charms are not restricted to the stupendous St Denis Basilica and associated royal necropolis (although either of these would provide ample justification for a visit just on their own merits).

The Mairie (town hall) of St Denis is located on the main square in front of the Basilica and is a delightful piece of architecture, complete with the obligatory window boxes of red geraniums - one day I will come to understand the French obsession with scarlet geraniums! The adjacent market square hosts a market on Sunday mornings - a somewhat humdrum market stocked primarily with dodgy imports from the Far East - and there is an excellent fresh produce market a couple of minutes away (see my forthcoming travel tip) through the staggeringly hideous concrete shopping centre that stands opposite the Metro station. To find this, follow the scrum of shoppers pulling their wheeled trollies and take care to treat these as lethal vehicles that will play havoc with unsuspecting ankles!

Both the church and market squares have a number of cafes with ample pavement seating for an alfresco beverage or meal, probably at a fraction of what you'd pay in central Paris, and allow you to watch the comings and goings of St Denis' predominantly imigrant population (rather than fellow tourists). Or, if money is tight, grab some of the wonderful goodies on offer in the fresh produce market and have a picnic in the quiet little park on the south side of Basilica St Denis, where you can eat under the baleful gaze of a newly beheaded St Denis!

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 93200 Saint-Denis,
Directions: Near Passage Pierre Abélard
Phone: +33 1 48 09 83 54
Website: http://www.saint-denis-basilique.fr/en/

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 31, 2012
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