The Basilica of Saint-Denis (French: Basilique royale de Saint-Denis, now formally known as the Basilique-cathédrale de Saint-Denis) is a large former medieval abbey church and present cathedral in the city of Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris. The building is of singular importance historically and architecturally as its choir, completed in 1144, is widely considered the first structure to employ all of the elements of Gothic architecture.
The basilica became a place of pilgrimage and a necropolis containing the tombs of the French Kings, including nearly every king from the 10th century to Louis XVIII in the 19th century. Henry IV of France came to Saint-Denis to formally renounce his Protestant faith and become a Catholic. The Queens of France were crowned at Saint-Denis, and the royal regalia, including the sword used for crowning the kings and the royal sceptre, were kept at Saint-Denis between coronations.
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