Visit: Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, 1 rue de la Legion D Honneur, 93200 Saint-Denis France
With your skip-the-line entry, head inside the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, a museum of sculpture that features more than 70 recumbent statues and monumental tombs from the Renaissance. The basilica contains within its walls the largest collection of funerary sculpture from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
The church, designed by Abbot Suger, a king's advisor from 1135 to 1144, was completed in the 13th century during the reign of Louis IX, a.k.a. Saint Louis. A major work of Gothic art, this church was the first to place great importance on light, a symbol of divinity, in religious architecture.
In 1793, revolutionaries attacked the symbols of the monarchy but the basilica was saved from total destruction. In 1806, Napoleon ordered the building to be restored. Then Louis XVIII restored the function of necropolis to the abbey. Restoration works were carried out throughout the 19th century and were directed by architects Debret and Viollet-le-Duc. In 1966, the basilica became a cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Denis.