Welcome to Seine Saint Denis
The department is mainly renowned for its basilica, but also for its famous flea market, a popular meeting place for bargain hunters from all regions and, naturally, for the Stade de France. However, its patrimony isn't limited to this list, there are a lot of other interesting places to discover if you take the time to do so.
In the early 19th century, the northern suburb was subject to major works, in 1820 the construction of the canals and from 1840 to 1850 the implementation of the railroads. At that time, it was the only place around Paris available with vast farming land with no real geographic barriers. Such conditions permitted a precocious growth of processing industry, a great consumer of low-skilled or unskilled labor. However, it is this vanished industrial past, which will not be compensated for immediately, that may explain the current data on the socio-demographic characteristics of the department.
What are the sights not to be missed in Seine-Saint-Denis?
It is no doubt the most important monument of the department regarding the history of France and the catholic church. At once an ancient Roman basilica, a Christian mausoleum, an abbey residence and a masterpiece of Gothic art, the Saint-Denis Basilica is above all the famous necropolis of the kings of France. In fact, it houses a unique collection in Europe, more than 70 recumbents and tombs dating from 12th to 16th century. But before being the final home of the kings of France, the basilica was the site of a cult in memory of St. Denis, the Basilica seems to be built at the site of the grave of St. Denis the martyr. During the excavations, some 4th century sarcophagi were found under the main building, but no body to prove with conviction this thesis. In the necropolis, there are 42 kings, 32 queens, and 63 princes and princesses. The St. Denis royal necropolis is the best witness to French history. Since 1970, the church has hosted numerous classical music concerts during the Saint Denis festival, which takes place every year in June.
The Market's alleys can be wandered at random or with a plan available at the tourist office or on the flea market website (see the link in the title), guided tours are also available. The salvage trade has existed for quite a long time in several regions of France, but the flea market was born in Saint-Ouen. in Paris, in the evening and at night, the biffins go around the capital to collect their booty. After the war in 1870, they set up their shacks on the Plaine des Malassis, close to the Porte de Clignancourt, where the objects lying on the ground attracted more and more Parisians and vendors. This was the beginning of the flea market. Nowadays, the Paris Saint-Ouen flea market, that is open each weekend in the year, is the most important concentration of antiques and second-hand goods dealers in the world, and with 5 million people visiting it, it's the 5th most visited tourist site in France. This 5 hectare walk is full of surprises, an original and memorable experience of the popular Paris.
Constructed following the selection of France by FIFA, in 1992, as host of the soccer world cup 98, it is a multi-purpose stadium that will see the day, being able to be adapted to the events it must host. Inaugurated on January 28, 1998 by a goal of Zinedine Zidane against Spain, it offers more than 80,000 seats and covered to receive the greatest sporting events, concerts and other large-scale shows. The stadium's track record since its inauguration is amazing: it has hosted about 500 exceptional events and almost 35 million spectators, being the only stadium in the world to have hosted so many major international competitions. The stadium visit usually starts with a free walk along a museum trail, which takes you through the great moments in the life of the Stade de France since its construction to today's events. Afterwards, a guide will lead you through a completely different setting and make you feel the magic of this exceptional place.
Located just 13 km north of Paris, an 18,000 m² covered exhibition space awaits you to present extraordinary collections on the theme of air and space. More than 350 airplanes, such as the Concorde, Ariane rockets, helicopters and warplanes are on display. After a good reorganization and a few years of work, the museum was inaugurated in 1973. One of the first aeronautical museums in the world, it was formerly the Paris airport and is now mainly used for aeronautical meetings and shows. Here you will discover the magic history of human dream to conquer the sky, starting with Icarus and ending with the conquest of the space. No more passenger flights, mainly business flights or cab planes, have been allowed on the runways since 1981, about 150 a day. As for the exhibition, a part of the collections of 150 aircraft are exhibited in several halls, of which the most important is the large gallery, while the less fragile ones are outside. The entrance to the museum of air and space is payable, except the first Sunday of each month.
Parc de la Villette, a relaxing place for a unique experience
A complex unique in the world that brings together nature, architecture, leisure, culture, arts and sciences in a single place and spectacular architectural spaces. In 1974, the slaughterhouses of La Villette ceased their activity, and a project to rehabilitate the 55 hectares of wasteland was then under consideration. The mission was defined in 1979, with the aim of providing an entire architectural complex dedicated to music, a national museum of science and technology and to create the largest urban cultural park open to all. In the 19th arrondissement of Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis, the mission was entrusted to Bernard Tschumi, with spectacular results. Throughout his project, he sought to reconcile the city dweller with the environment, by integrating a huge green space in the heart of a large cultural and creative district (more than 33 activity sites).
The most important structures in the park
Conceived in the 19th century by the architect Jules de Mérindol, it is listed as a historic monument. The halle aux bœufs was the biggest building of the former slaughterhouses, composed of steel frame structures, it has been reconverted into a hall hosting cultural events and exhibitions since the creation of the park. The 18,000 square meters of the Great Hall, the jewel of iron and glass architecture of the 19th century, are divided into 2 or 3 spaces: the Nave, the Charlie Parker space, and the Boris Vian auditorium.
This establishment focuses on the diffusion of scientific and technical culture, and was created on the initiative of President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
It aims to diffuse scientific and technical knowledge to a large public, as well as to arouse the interest of citizens in issues related to science, research and industry, and on March 13, 1986, it was inaugurated by the President François Mitterrand.
In 2009, the Palais de la Découverte, which used to be in the Grand Palais, was added to the city.
This is a building of geodesic dome type, similar to a sphere, and it is located close to the Cité des Sciences and the Palais de la Découverte. Its main activity is the diffusion of films. It was designed by the Adrien Fainsilber architectural firm and inaugurated on May 6, 1985. As a futuristic building dating back to the late 80s, it was an embodiment of technology at the time. The hall, now obsolete, was closed for renovations on November 30, 2018. The company Pathé was retained to take over and a modernization project was finalized in early 2018, and is expected to take place in late 2023/2024.
Designed by the architect Christian de Portzamparc, the Cité de la Musique was inaugurated on January 12, 1995. It consists of both a Parisian public establishment and a group of buildings. Intended for programming ancient music, contemporary music, jazz, and also all types of world music. In 1997 came to be added the museum of music, with a large collection of instruments for classical music of the 16th to 21st century. Officially opened on January 14, 2015, the new building next to the Cité de la Musique houses a 2,400-seat auditorium and a media library that is modern and adapted to current technology.
This big concert hall in Paris, on the banks of the Ourcq canal, has a capacity of 6,804 people. The Zenith Paris la Villette was built by architects Philippe Chaix and Jean-Paul Morel, at the initiative of Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture, the hall was inaugurated on January 12, 1984. It was planned to be a temporary hall and to be dismantled after 3 years, once a new hall will have been erected elsewhere, in the nearby suburbs. Being a victim of its own success, it became, instead, a reference in the business. The brand "Zenith" has even been registered and finally as a result of the temporary project, 16 copies were built all over France from 1984 to 2008.