St. Denis and his head. A Miracle? A Mystery?

To-ing and Fro-ing in France

Just one of the many stories about Paris

The imposing Cathedral of Saint Denis on the north side of Paris The imposing Cathedral of Saint Denis on the north side of Paris

Saint Denis, the patron saint of France, has a very colorful and interesting history and story. There’s the cathedral that bears his name. We first visited the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis a number of years ago, that wonderful Gothic construction where many of France’s royalty were crowned and buried.

As most visitors to Paris probably know, on the front of the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, to the left of the main door, stands the statue of a man holding his own severed head. It is Saint Denis. Why is the saint usually portrayed decapitated and what is the link to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis?

The famous sculpture on the door of Notre Dame in Paris The famous sculpture on the door of Notre Dame in Paris

The story goes that Saint Denis was decapitated, then walked 4…

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