Saint-Denis basilica Renaissance stalls
They kept saint Denis' relics here, in a modest church founded by Dagobert since ages. Abbot Suger in the 12th century decided to extend it. The building work began in 1132.
Eight years later, the nave and the façade were finished. In 1144, among a huge crowd and important guests, the Gothic church was dedicated.
But in the 13th century, it was the king of France Louis IX who decided to put here kings of France's graves: so, he started to rebuild and extend the nave and the transept.
70 recumbent figures rest here: Merovingians (with king Dagobert), Carolingians (with Charles Martel), Capetians, Valois, Bourbons... until Louis XVIII, in fact!
Then came the French Revolution, a dark time for the basilica. Graves were destroyed, bodies exhumed and burnt... A story told a soldier cut Henri IV's beard, as a souvenir...
In the reign of Napoléon I, then later in the 19th century, architect Viollet-le-Duc restored it.