Saint-Denis in Île-de-France

Wednesday, 29 December 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Paris / Île-de-France
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Town hall © Chabe01/cc-by-sa-4.0

Town hall © Chabe01/cc-by-sa-4.0

Saint-Denis is a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 9.4 km (5.8 mi) from the centre of Paris. Saint-Denis, which has a population of 112,000, is a subprefecture of the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, being the seat of the arrondissement of Saint-Denis. It is home to France’s national football and rugby stadium, the Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Saint-Denis is a formerly industrial suburb currently changing its economic base. Inhabitants of Saint-Denis are called Dionysiens.

Saint-Denis is home to the royal necropolis of the Basilica of Saint-Denis and was also the location of the associated abbey. 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 through 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.

Until the 3rd century, Saint-Denis was a small settlement called Catolacus or Catulliacum, probably meaning “estate of Catullius”, a Gallo-Roman landowner. About 250 AD, the first bishop of Paris, Saint Denis, was martyred on Montmartre hill and buried in Catolacus. Shortly after 250 AD, his grave became a shrine and a pilgrimage centre, with the building of the Abbey of Saint Denis, and the settlement was renamed Saint-Denis. In 1793, during the French Revolution, Saint-Denis was renamed Franciade in a gesture of rejection of religion. In 1803, however, under the Consulate of Napoléon Bonaparte, the city reverted to its former name of Saint-Denis.

Saint-Denis Cathedral, resting place of French kings and the worlds first and oldest Gothic Cathedral © flickr.com - Ed Ogle/cc-by-2.0 Saint-Denis Cathedral © Zairon/cc-by-sa-4.0 Canal Saint-Denis - Pont Tournant & Cathedral © Claude Shoshany/cc-by-2.5 © flickr.com - Guilhem Vellut/cc-by-2.0 Jardin Fatima Bedar © VVVCFFrance/cc-by-sa-4.0 © panoramio.com - 4net/cc-by-3.0 Parc Georges Valbon © flickr.com - Guilhem Vellut/cc-by-sa-2.0 Rue Gabriel-Peri © Myrabella/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stade de France - Nations League 2018 - France vs. Netherlands © Darthvadrouw/cc-by-sa-4.0 Town hall © Chabe01/cc-by-sa-4.0 Saint-Denis Cathedral - Choir Glass © Amirwiki/cc-by-2.5
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Saint-Denis Cathedral, resting place of French kings and the worlds first and oldest Gothic Cathedral © flickr.com - Ed Ogle/cc-by-2.0
Saint-Denis is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Saint-Denis and is today one of the centers of Islam in France with all related problems (Laïcité (secularism) (separation of state and church and citizens can voluntarily pursue a religion on a personal basis or not without restricting the freedoms of others. This also applies to freedom of expression, which even goes beyond that. It is legally anchored that all citizens can express their opinion freely, even at the risk of offending others with their expression of opinion. Islamists see both as an attack on Islam, which is of course absolute nonsense, because the French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State dates from 1905, so it existed long before Muslims, Islam and especially its unpleasant side effects became a topic in today’s Europe at all), Islamist attacks in France). The city has a greatly increased crime rate compared to the national average. French President Emmanuel Macron and the major Muslim umbrella organizations recently concluded a “secularism agreement” which once again makes it clear that the vast majority of French Muslims live on the basis of French law (DW, 5 February 2022: France launches new body aiming to reshape Islam). Whether and how this will affect Islamists and their behavior remains to be seen, especially since the damage has already been done. The majority of the population does not consider political Islam in particular to be integrable and, in view of the numerous terrorist attacks in the recent past, is in favor of much tougher measures (including mass repatriations to countries of origin) than is currently the case e.g. in Germany. In view of the historical significance of Saint-Denis, these are definitely shocking developments. At the same time, of course, one always has to point out the obvious:

  • There are radicalized weirdos in almost every religious community. Of course, anyone who has studied the history of Christianity knows this all too well. Numerous stories about violence, murder and manslaughter, which today would tend to be ascribed to the Quran, actually come from the Bible. That doesn’t excuse anything, but it does ensure the necessary perspective and proportionality in the overall view.
  • Currently there is a tiny group of Mohammed crackheads (The Sunday Times, 6 February 2022: Hatchet job or brave reporting? French town torn apart by TV documentary) who discredit an entire religious group with their deeds (France assumes around 10,000 threats out of a total of around 5 million Muslims. In Germany, the figure is just under 2,100 out of a total of 5.25 million Muslims) and reduce their (economic and socially) future prospects. That’s part of the strategy. A permanent split between the majority society and the minorities is to be achieved in order to trigger social unrest. Islamists cannot deal well with the fact that Islamism has brought their countries of origin almost only disadvantages, high rates of crime, corruption, exploitation, fraternal wars and a lack of prospects, while secularism brings almost only advantages. It is precisely these advantages that need to be eliminated – in their views.
  • As a former proud colonial power, one has to live with the fact that residents from all parts of the colonial empire strive for the mother country and become a visible and audible part of the population there. The street scenes of e.g. Amsterdam and London also make this clear. On the other hand, one can of course try to stir up antipathy against it. As a great thinker, however, you will not go down in the history books for it.

Read more on Saint-Denis, Département Seine-Saint-Denis, Wikivoyage Saint-Denis and Wikipedia Saint-Denis (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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