Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris is the patron saint of France.
He was sent to Lutetia (Paris) by Pope Fabian where he destroyed statues of roman gods and emperors and was arrested and beheaded at Montmarte. According to legend he then stood up, took his head and walked 6 kilometers to the village of Catoliacus (Saint Denis). St Denis is often depicted carrying his head.
St Denis cathedral is located on the northern edge of Paris. The first church on the site was built around 475. Rebuilding in 1144 resulted in what is considered to be the first Gothic church ever built.
St Denis has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries and is the burial place of the French kings, with nearly every king from the 10th to the 18th centuries being buried there, and many others from previous centuries back to Clovis I (481 – 511).