ISLE-de-FRANCE



   
Paris Haut-de-Seine Seine-Saint-Denis Val-de-Marne
Yvelines Seine-et-Marne  Essone Val-d'Oise

PARIS
         
Hôtel des Invalides  The Louvre      


 

This was the first military hospital in France, being founded by Louis XIV and  completed in 1675. A soldiers' church was already on the site but the King ordered that the Dome Church be built among the existing buildings for his exclusive use and the housing of royal tombs. This latter expectation was never realized.

In 1841 King Louis-Philippe decided to bring back Napoleon's remains from St Helena, where he had lived under 'house arrest' from 1815 to 1821; his body was encased in six coffins and finally placed in the crypt in 1861. (right-top) The original grave site and his house on St Helena are preserved by the French Government. Later, tombs of Vauban (right-bottom)
, Marshal Foch and others have turned the Dome Church into a French military memorial. Napoleon's older brother, Joseph Bonaparte, also has a monument in the church.

In his will Napoleon requested that his body might be returned to France "to repose on the banks of the Seine in the midst of the French people I have loved so much". In the event of a refusal he wished to be buried in Geranium Valley under the willow trees adjacent to the little spring, whence his drinking water was carried daily to Longwood. His funeral took place on May 9th 1821, conducted by Father Vignali. He was buried with full military honours, the garrison, 3000 strong, lining the route with arms reversed. General Monthlon asked that the following inscription be engraved on the tomb in French: 'Napoleon Born at Ajaccio August 15, 1569. Died at St Helena May 5 1821.' The Governor declined, insisting that Bonaparte be added so the French decided to leave the stone bare. It is difficult to understand the reason prompting Sir Hudson Lowe to reject this simple inscription.

(information from Lina Knipe of the St Helena Tourist Office)

This exceptionally large museum and gallery is in central Paris on the banks of the Seine and holds a relatively small but particularly interesting collection of funerary monuments rescued from various Paris churches, during the destruction of the Revoltion. Shown is the magnificent monument to Phillipe Pot, constructed in 1480 during his life time (Room 10) and the monument which covered the entrails of King Charles  lV and Jeanne d'Evreux, dated 1371. (Room 9)

This latter may require some explanation: bodies of the great were sometimes dismembered at this time and the body, heart and entrails buried in different places with separate monuments. Heart monuments are found occasionally, such as that to Richard the Lionheart at Rouen,  but entrails monuments are rare. Charles and Jeanne are represented holding a leather bag containing their entrails; despite this gruesome detail they are depicted with their eyes open.

other monuments
   
Room 7 Guillaume de Chanac (c 1374) Bishop of Paris then Latin Patriarch of Alexandria. Marble 14th century From Abbey of St Victor, Paris
" Jean de Dormans (1380) Priest Marble 14th century. From chapel of College of Beauvais-Dormans
" Raunaud de Dormans (1386) Priest. Marble by Jean de Liège (c 1882) From chapel of College of Beauvais-Dormans
Room 9 Charles V 'The Wise' (1350)  Entrail monument. White marble 14th century. From Abbey of Maubuisson
" Charles IV the Fair (see above) White marble by Jean de Liège From Abbey of Maubuisson
Room 10 Pierre de Navarre (1412) Count of Mortain and Catherine d'Alençon white marble, inscription. From the chapel of John the Baptist of the Charterhouse of Paris
" Phillippe de Morvilliers (1438) First president of the parliament of Paris. White marble 15th century. From Priory of St Martin in the Fields
" Anne of Burgundy (1432) Wife of John, Duke of Bedford. White marble, inscription, 15th century.
Blancheland Marie d'Avesnes (13th C) Abbess of Pont-aux-Dames. Marble 14th century
   



SEINE-SAINT-DENIS

Saint Denis
An easy journey on the Metro from Central Paris; the church is a short walk from the station. Entrance to the church is free but there is a small charge to visit the tombs.  Website
This church - the burial place of the Kings and Queens of France - would be worth a visit if only for its architecture but it houses one of the finest and most extensive collections of monuments in existence, both of the French royalty and others. It is situated in a northern suburb of Paris.

Because of the arrangement of these monuments and the fact that some are difficult to photograph closely, I have arranged them as they would be seen on walking around the church. I have not yet been able to take satisfactory photographs of the massive and very impressive Renaissance monuments but will attempt to do so when I next visit St Denis, when hopefully I can spend the whole day there and retake many other improved photographs too. The table below gives a list of the French kings, queens and some of their family where relevant. This I hope will bring the large amount of monuments into a cohesive whole. If you click on the underlined name you will be taken to photographs of, and some information about, the relevant monument.

In early times the Basilica at Saint Vincent-Saint-Croix (today Saint-Germain-des-Paris) in Paris was the traditional burial place of the kings of France but Dagobert choose the Basilica of St Denis and was the first king to have been buried there; his son, Clovis II, followed. However in 1959 the grave of Queen Arégonde, who died in 580 and was the great grand mother of Dagobert, was discovered; she was thus the first royal person to have been buried there. A series of the Carolingiens were also buried there. With the Capétians - the great majority of whom were also buried there - St Denis became known as the 'cemetery of the kings'.

Originally the tombs were placed in no specific order but in 1263/64 King Louis IX  - or St Louis - commissioned a series of sixteen effigies of earlier kings, queens and princes, which were arranged in strict order.Their bones were exhumed from their original burial sites, which had been marked by simple plaques, and laid in boxes on which the effigies were placed.  Of these effigies, fourteen now remain: two - those of Eudes and Hugh Capet - were destroyed during the French Revolution. These effigies are listed in red in the table below. The
Mérovingiens and the Carolingiens were then placed to the south and the Capétians to the north of the crossing; the tombs of Louis VIII and Philippe-Augustus were placed in the centre in the place of honour. They are all identically dressed in the fashion of the 13th century, hold a sceptre in one hand and generally hold their cloaks in their free hand. Their eyes are open and they present calm, idealized features of the perfect king or queen.  However despite this each shows much individuality. It is said that the work was carried out by three different artists. The King  also stipulated that St Denis be used only for the burial of reigning kings and queens: royal children were to be buried in the Abbey of Royaumont. His own monument was eventually placed in the centre of this arrangement. This ruling of Saint Louis was overturned by his grandson, Philippe IV.

The French Revolution disrupted the monuments in St Denis. In 1791 monuments from  Royaumont Abbey were moved there, following a decision by the Commission of Monuments the previous year that St Denis would be an suitable depository of monuments from destroyed churches. However a decree of 1792 demanded that metal monuments be melted down for war requirements; six tombs were lost at St Denis, including those of Charles le Chauve and Charles VIII. In 1793 following the execution of the King the official attitude changed and the destruction of the tombs was proposed.   Fifty tombs were demolished although not all completely destroyed. However all the slabs were destroyed except that of Isabelle of Aragon, because the Commission regarded the rhyming French inscription on it to be of interest; this can be seen today.  It also wished for conservation of the effigies of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries because of their historical worth.  The remains of these monuments were ejected from the church into the garden that flanks the north transept, some being destroyed. Later it was decreed that the remains of the interred were to be removed from their graves and buried in a pit; this was carried out on 15th October 1793. It was noted that the corpses were in states of putrefaction except that of Henri IV, which was well preserved, and an engraving was made of this by Alexandre Lenoir (1762-1839). He later salvaged the tombs to install them in the Museum of Historical Monuments. When Louis XVIII returned to the throne he restored the tombs to St Denis in 1816 and added some from buildings that had been destroyed during the Revolution. Those monuments moved at various times from other sites are are indicated in purple in the following. He reburied the ejected remains (marked *) in an ossuary in the crypt (together with many unlisted family members) and those of the Bourbons who could be indentified in the Bourbon Vault. The monuments were at this time installed in the crypt. Several members of the royal family were buried in St Denis after the Revolution in coffins of lead and wood in the 'Chapel of the Princes' in the crypt. Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) restored the church and the tombs. Those kings  who were buried elsewhere are indicated in green.
 

The table below shows members of the various dynasties: click on the link to see their monmuments. The are also photographs of monuments beow the list which are not included as their were not of direct members of the dynasties.
The Mérovingiens The Capétians   The Valois François II
(heart burial)
Clovis I Eudes
(destroyed in the Revolution)
Philippe III le Hardi Philippe VI Charles IX*
(no monument)
Childebert I Hugh Capet
(destroyed in the Revolution)
& Isabelle d'Aragon & Jeanne de Bourgogne*
(no monument)
& Élisabeth d'Autriche
(no monument)
Frédégonde & Adélaine of Aquitaine
(no monument)
Charles, Count of Valois
(son of Philippe III)
& Blanche d'Evreux-Navarre* Henry III *
(heart burial monument)
Dagobert I * Robert III le Pieux Charles of Valois, Count of Alençon
(son of above)
Jeanne de France *
(daughter of the above)
& Louise de Lorraine
(reinterred in crypt by Louis XVIII)
& Nathilde *
(no monument)
& Constance d'Arles Marie of Spain
(wife of the above)
Jean II le Bon * The Bourbons
Clovis II Henry I Louis of France
(son of Phillipe III & Marguerite of France)
& Jeanne d'Auvergne
(no monument)
Henri IV *
also here
& Bathilde
(no monument)
& Anne de Kiev
(no monument)
Marguerite d'Artois
(wife of above)
Charles V le Sage & Marguerite de Valois *
Thierry IV
(burial uncertain)
Philippe I
(buried at Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire)
Charles, Count of Etampes & Jeanne de Bourbon (original monument destroyed in the Revolution; see below) & Marie de Médici
The
 Carolingiens
Louis VI le Gros Philippe IV le Bel * Dukes of Orleans Henriette d'Angleterre *
(daughter of Henri IV)
Charles Martel Philippe de France Louis le Huntin * Charles VI le Fou Louis XIII
Pépin le Bref Louis VII
(buried in Abbey of Barbeau but reinterred in crypt by Louis XVIII)
& Clémance of Hungary & Isabeau de Bavière & Anne d'Autriche *
& Berthe au Grand Pied & Constance of Castille & his daughter
Jeanne II, Queen of Navarre *
Charles VII Louis XIV
also here
Carloman,
son of Pépin
Philippe II Augustus *
(monument destroyed in 100 years war)
& his son,
Jean I *
& Marie d'Anjou & Marie-Térèse d'Autriche *
Charles le Chauve *
(a memorial brass was melted down at the Revolution)
Louis VIII
(destroyed in 100 years war)
Philippe V le Long * Louis XI
(buried at Cléry-Saint-André)
Louis XV *
& Ermentrude Philippe of France
(son of Louis VIII & Blanche of Castille)
Marguerite of Flanders *
(daughter of Philippe V)
Charles VIII *
(effigy of silver (?) by Guido Mazzoni, melted down at the Revolution)
& Marie Leczinske *
Louis III Louis IX or Saint Louis
(monument destroyed in 100 years was)
Charles IV le Bel * Louis XII * & Anne de Bretagne * Louis XVI
(reinterred in crypt by Louis XVIII) Also here
Carloman & Marguerite de Provence *
(no monument)
& Jeanne d'Évreux * François I * & Claude of France * & Marie-Antonette d'Autriche
(reinterred in crypt by Louis XVIII) Also here
For simplicity other members of these dynasties who appear to have no connection with St Denis have not been listed Louis of France
(son of Saint Louis)
Blanche of France
(daughter of Charles IV)
Henri II * & Catherine de Médicis * Louis XVIII
Blanche * & Jean of France
(brother & sister of the above)
    Charles X
       

The South Transept
Above right in the foreground is Clovis II (635-657) and in the backgrouns Charles Martel (688-741); both of these effigies were commissioned by Saint Louis. Clovis II was of the Mérovingien and Charles Martel of the Carolingien dynasties.
On the left is Isabelle d'Aragon (1243-1271),  1st wife of Philippe III le Hardi. Part of the canopy of her monument can be seen in the foreground of the right hand photograph. The base of her monument carries the inscription mentioned above.
Above left in the forground is Berthe au Grand Pied (762-783), wife of Pépin le Bref (714-768) whose effigy is in the background. Berthe is also shown on the right. Pépin was of the Carolingien dynasty. Both effigies were commisioned by Saint Louis. The next king after Pépin was Charles II le Chauve (877) but his effigy was destroyed; however see below for a drawing of this monument.

Above in the foreground is Philippe III le Hardi (1244-1285) and in the background Philippe IV le Bel (1268-1314) Philippe le Hardi was the eleventh king of the Capétian dynasty and Philippe le Bel the twelfth. Both sculptured in white marble on black marble slabs, a style that was to become widespread in the next century. That of the earlier Philippe was executed by Jean d'Arras; the face is idealised rather than a portrait.
Above to the left in the foreground is Carloman (866-884) who is also shown to the right. In the background is Louis III (863-882). Both were of the Carolingien Dynasty and the effigies were commissioned by St Louis.
Centre Picture: In the foreground Charles V le Sage (1338-1380) & Jeanne de Bourbon (1338-1377), his wife. Charles was the third king of the Valois dynasty and his effigy, by André Beauneveu, was carved in his lifetime. He would have  held the Hand of Justice (now fractured) in his left hand and holds the scepter in his right. The Queen's effigy was originally in the Church of the Celestines, Paris and covered her entrails which were buried there; note the sack of entrails she holds in her left hand. The effigy which had originally covered her body in St Denis was destroyed during the Revolution.

In the middle ground on the left is the effigy of Bernard du Guesclin (1320-1380) which is also shown on the left. He was Constable of France and a major figure in the Hundred Years' War. Charles V ordered that he be buried in St Denis. The monument was executed by Thomas Privé and Robert Loisel. On the right is the effigy of Louis de Sancerre (1342-1402) which is also shown on the far right, middle picture. He was companion in arms to du Guesclin and later he became Constable of France. Charles VI ordered that he be buried in St Denis.

The two busts on pedestals on either side of these latter monuments are those of
Charles VII (1403-1463) & Marie d'Anjou (1404-1463) These are all that remain of their original effigies.

In the back ground are the effigies of
Charles VI Le Fou (1368-1422) & Isabeau de Bavière (1372-1435); also shown on the far right upper picture. Charles was the four of the Valois kings. The Queen commissioned this double monument, which was executed by Pierre de Thoiry, during her life time. The King holds in his right hand the scepter and in his left the hand of justice.
Image to Follow Image to Follow
The Dukes of Orleans: Louis, Duke of Orleans (1407), son of Charles V, Valentine Visconti (1408), his wife, and their sons: Charles the Poet (1465), father of Louis XII, and Philippe (1420). Originally in the Church of the Celestines, Paris, they were commissioned by Louis XII around 1502 and executed by two Milanese artists, Michel d'Aria and Girolamo Rovezzano and two Florentine artists, Doni de Battista Benti and Benedetto da Rovezzano. The commission was to blend the features of medieval effigies with the then new ideas of the Renaissance. Charles was a prisoner of the English for twenty-five years following the Battle of Againcourt. This monument was placed in St Denis after 1817. François I (1554) & Claude of France (1524). The construction of this splendid monument was overseen by Philibert de l'Orme. François Camoy was the first sculptor, then François Merchant and finally Pierre Bontemps, who completed the major part of the work. The architecture is that of a triumphal arch with military scenes of the King's life carved in low relief around the lower part of the monument. Under the central arch the King and Queen are shown as partly shrouded corpses in eternal sleep, lying on two separate biers; the two separate arches act as aisles. The effigies of the King and Queen are shown at their actual height, that of the King being nearly two meters tall. Above, the King and Queen are shown at prayer with three of their children who died young. The monument remains in its original position. François I - heart burial. The funerary urn was constructed by Pierre Bontemps, who was also responsible for the major tomb, and was originally in Bruyères Abbey, The urn and its base are decorated with images of the arts and learning, of which the King was a patron. François II - heart burial. This is a column designed by Primaticcio at the base of which are three putti with inverted torches. The column originally supported an urn which contained the heart of the King and was  in the Church of the Célestines, Paris.
The Ambulatory
Above in the foreground is Charles de Valois, Comte d'Alençon (1297-1346)  , brother of Phillippe VI, and in the background his wife Marie d Esagne (1379).
Above is Léon VI de Lusignan (1393), King of Armenia till 1375 when he was forced into exile. Originally Church of the Celestines, Paris. Note that he holds his gloves, a sign of rank in the eastern tradition They are also shown on the right. These effigies were originally in the Church of the Jacobins Paris. Note the realism of his male pattern baldness.  Her crown was of metal and the fixing holes can be seen; note the delightful hair style.
Above & immediately right: An unknown princess 
Left: Another unknown child princess from the fourteenth century. 
.Far right: Blanche de France (1243) & Jean (1268) children of St Louis and Marguerite of Provence. The effigies are in copper on enamel plaques from Royaumont Abbey Church.
Robert l'Enfant or d'Artois (1300-1317). Commissioned by his mother Mahaut d'Artois and executed by Jean Pepin de Huy in 1320. This monument was originally in Church of the Cordeliers, Paris. Note the arms carved in high relief on his shield.
Above: In lower photograph, in the foreground Childebert I (558) - who is also shown above right. He was of the Mérovingien Dynasty and the monument was originally in his foundation of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. His monument dates from before 1163 and shows him holding a model of his foundation in his right hand and his sceptre in his left.  In  the background of the lower photograph and in the upper photograph is Clovis I (511) who was also of the Mérovingien Dynasty;  his monument, which is in higher relief, was executed around 1220-1230, and was also originally in Saint-Genevieve, Paris.
 Frédégonde (597) ,wife of Chilpric I, This is an incised slab but with the head, belt and folds in low relief. In the hollowed out area are placed stones of various types and copper filaments. This monument was originally in Saint-Germaine-ds-Prés, Paris and was made in the mid 12th century.  


 Dagobert I( 639)
This monument is in the form of an elaborately carved funerary niche. The carvings depict the legend of John the Hermit. The monument dates from 1258 but the reclining figure of Dogobert and the flanking figure of his wife and son are nineteenth century reproductions.

 
Louis XVI & Marie-Antoinette (both executed 1793). These kneeling images were ordered by Louis XVIII when the remains of the King and Queen were found in the Cimetière des Innocents, Paris. This sculpture was completed in 1830.
 

Henry II (1559) & Catherine of Médici (1558). This second monument, by Germain Pilon, shows the King and Queen in their coronation vestments. Their figures are of marble and rest on a base of bronze. This latter was melted down at the Revolution and later reconstructed by Viollet-le-Duc.
 
Marie de Bourbon (1538) daughter of Charles de Bourbon, Duke de  Vendôme from Church of Notre-Dame de Soissons. She was the aunt of Henry IV and her body was placed in the tomb of her sister, the Abbess of Notre-Dame de Soissons. Image to Follow
The North Transept
This was conceived at the Restoration as a museum of funerary scupture
Phillipe VI de Valois (1294-1350) on the left; Jean II Le Bon (1319-1364) on the right. From the workshop of André Beauneuveu in 1366. Jean was captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356; he was allowed to return to France, leaving behind as hostage his son, who, however, broke his word and  escaped. Jean honourably returned to London where he died. Phillippe V Le Long (1293-1322) on the left, Jeanne d'Evreux (1307-1370) ,3rd Wife of Charles IV,  at the centre and Charles  IV Le Bel (1295-1328) on the right. Jeanne became a great patron of the arts after her widowhood and commissioned the effigy before her death Blanche (1328-1393), Duchesse d'Orléans. Daughter of Charles IV
From the workshop of Jean de Liège
 and Robert Loisel.
In the foreground, Ermentrude (825-869) ,wife of Charles II le Chauve, who is also shown on the right; and in the background Carloman [son of Pepin] (751-771). He was buried in Reims but he was reburied in St Denis in the 13th century. Both these effigies were commissioned by St Louis In the foreground Constance of Castille (1136-1160) second wife of Louis VII le Jeune, in the background Philippe (ob 1131) ,son of Louis le Gros. He was crowned in his father's lifetime. Note the book the Queen holds in her right hand. Both effigies commisioned by St Louis.
Lower photograph, in the foreground Jeanne de France (1311-1349), Queen of Navarre and only daughter of Louis X, she is also shown on the right, and in the background Jean I le Posthume (1316) ,s on of Louis X and Clémance de Hongrie, who died age four days, five months after the death of his father. He was succeeded by his uncle - Philippe V - was had acted as regent and who was accused of causing the young child's death. Upper photograph, in the foreground  Robert le Pieux (970-1031) and in the background Henri I (1008-1060); both of these two effigies were commissioned by St Louis Above on the left Louis X le Huntin (1289-1316) also on the right  above. The canopy - or gablette - above the head is preserved. He first married Margaret of Burgundy, who was later accusd of adultary and strangled in prison; he then married Clémance de Hongrie, whose effigy can be seen below. On the right below Constance d Arles (984-1032),  third wife of Robert le Pieux, whose effigy was commissioned by St Louis. Note she also holds a book but this time in her left hand. In the background Louis VI le Gross (1081-1137), whose effigy was also commissioned by St Louis
Above and to the left Marguerite de Flanders (1310-1382), daughter of Philippe V and wife of Louis II of Flanders. Her husband was killed at the Battle of Crécy in 1364; note the widow's costume. She was a generous benefactress to St Denis.
Below Charles, Comte d'Étampes (1336), son of Louis d'Evreux and Marguerite d'Artois; this monuments was originally in the Church of the Cordeliers, Paris. A remarkably fine and detailed monument.
Above is Béatrice de Bourbon (1381). , wife of Jean, King of Bohemia. Originally in the Church of the Jacobins, Paris Above Louis de France (1244-1260) ,son of Louis IX and Marguerite of Provence, and below Philippe de France (1222-1245) ,son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile.]These two effigies, which rest on tomb chests, were originally in Royaumont Abbey Church. Louis's chest (this is a copy: the original is in the Carnavalat Museum) shows, in high relief, his funeral procession, his soul being taken to heaven by an angel and other motifs. Traces of polychrome remain on Philippe's effigy and weepers around the tomb chest; these are reproductions based on original fragments
Above left and centre top Charles I d'Anjou (1226-1285)  He was Count of Anjou and King of Sicily and the son of Louis VIII. He was expelled from Sicily following the revolt known as the 'Sicillian Vespers' His body was buried in Naples and his heart in the Church of the Jacobins, Paris, where this effigy covered this burial. Note he holds his heart in his left hand.
 Below centre and to the right Blanche de France (1253-1320) ,daughter of St Louis. She was born in Jaffa during the Seventh Crusade and took the veil in 1275. Effigy originally in Church of the Cordeliers, Paris.
Above Louis et Philippe (1273), young sons of the Count of Alençon. This is a copy of the original which is in the National Museum of the Middle Ages, Paris.
Above Charles, Comte de Valois (1270-1325) ,son of PhilippeIII. This effigy was originally in the Church of the Jacobins, Paris. Above,on the left and in the central lower picture is Jeanne of France (1350-1371), daughter of the following; in the upper picture Blanche d'Evreux-Nevarre, wife of Philippe VI. A double monument assumed to be by Jean de Liège. Jeanne died on the journay to Spain to marry John of Aragon. In a similar manner to the effigy of Marie d'Espagne she originally wore a metal crown; the delightful hairstyle is also identical.
Above is the effigy of Marie de Brienne (1225-1280) which was originally in L'Abbaye de Maubuisson. There have been however several hypotheses about  whom this effigy represents. Maries de Brienne was the last Latin Empress of Constantinople; note the crown. Above and to the left is Marguerite d'Artois (1311) ;  to the right is her husband, Louis de France (1275-1319) [son of Philippe III]. Both were originally in the Church of the Jacobins, Paris.
Above Clémance de Hongrie (1293-1328) ,second wife of Louis X le Huntin. Above Guillaume du Chastel (1410), pantler to Charles VII who ordered he servant be buried in St Denis. The body is of stone but the face of marble.
Image to Follow Image to Follow
Louis Cardinal of Bourbon son of François, Count of Vendôme (ob 1557) Jacques de Valleroy was commissioned for this work in 1530. The column originally supported a praying bronze figure Louis XII (1515) & Anne of Brittany (1514). Thismagnificent marble monument was installed in 1531. It was commissioned by François I, designed by either Guido Mazzoni or Perreal and executed by Jean Juste and his family. On the upper stage beautiful images of the King and Queen appear kneeling at prayer while at the lower stage they are shown as gruesome, partly shrouded corpses, the Queen throwing back her head in a final spasm, with the post mortem sutures visible. Figures of the Apostles sit under the twelve arches and at each corner, on a lower stage and in front, are seated the four Virtues - Prudence, Temperance and Strength. This stage is decorated by narrative scenes in low relief of the King's Italian wars. Henri II (1559) & Catherine of Médici (1589). The Queen commissioned Franceso Primaticcio - who appointed Germain Pilon as sculptor - to construct a monument to herself and her husband on the day after his death. It was completed in 1570. At each corner of the monument are the Four Virtues and allegorical figures representing  Faith, Hope, Charity and Good Deeds -  are carved in low relief around the base. Inside are the partly shrouded figures of the King and Queen. On the platform above they are shown kneeling at prayer in bronze; because of the extreme contrast this is difficult to see in the image above. This monument was originally in the 'Mausoleum of the Valois Kings', constructed at the request of the Queen,  but which, having become in poor condition was demolished in the early eighteenth century. Heart of Henry III (ob 1580) This monument is a square bas relief formerly in a niche. A Column was also erected of which only the shaft remains
The Crypt
From the time of Henry IV, the Bourbons were places in the ceremonial burial vault, which became overcrowded by the end of the seventeenth century. In 1683  it was decided that the central part of the crypt under the sanctuary be used as a burial vault - this became known as the 'Bourbon Vault'. The coffins were simply placed on iron stands with inscriptions for identification. Other churches continued the practice of receiving the entrails and hearts of the deceased. None of the future projects to build a more suitable burying place - such as a dome - were carried out.

Under Napoleon, architects transformed the Bourbon vault to create a burial place for the Bonaparte family. Louis XVIII restored it to its original condition in order to inter the bodies of his ancestors who could be recognised and who had been ejected during the Revolution as well as those of the executed King and Queen. He also constructed an ossuary to house the remains of earlier kings and others which had been ejected from their tombs at the Revolution.

In the crypt are buried those whom Louis maintained that he had found: Louis VII (1180), Louise de Lorraine [wife of Henri III], Louis XVI (ex 1793) and Marie Antoinette (ex 1793); the last two had been guillotined and originally buried in a Paris cemetery. Louis XVIII (1824) himself was the last king to have been buried here and there is also a tomb awaiting Charles X, who died in exile and is buried in Slovenia. Their six black marble stones, which date from 1975, are shown in the centre photograph above.

Nineteenth century cenotaphs in a side chapel commemorate the Bourbon kings and their family including Henry IV (above left) and Louis XIV(above right). The remains of the following Bourbon kings and queens lie in the ossuary: Henry IV & Marguerite de Valois & Marie de Médici & Henriette d'Angleterre , Louis XIII & Anne d'Autriche, Louis XIV & Marie-Térèse d'Autriche, Louis XV  & Marie Leczinska
 
Lost Monuments at St Denis
It is quite remarkable that so many monuments of the French Monarchy survived the anti-royalist and anti-clerical violence of the French Revolution, especially as the survival rate in England - a monarchy - is much poorer. In Scotland, where the Republican government was rejected and Charles II initially crowned, the situation is even worse: there are none. There appear to have been two waves of destruction, the 100 Years War and the Revolution. Some were obviously melted down for their metal, as was that of Louis XI at Cléry.
100 Years War The Revolution
Philippe II Augustus Charles le Chauve (brass)
Louis VIII Eudes (St Louis Series)
Louis IX - St Louis Hugh Capet (St Louis Series)
Jeanne de Bourbon
(Queen of Charles le Sage)
Charles VIII (Silver)
There's some irony here! Richard the Lion Heart has two effigies surviving: his enemy Philippe Augustus none. St Louis - the constructor of monuments - lost his! It is more likely that the effigy of Jeanne de Bourbon was destroyed in the Revolution The first and last were obviously melted down for the metal. It it curious why the other two of series were destroyed.

Drawings of Destroyed Monuments

Monument of Eudes and Hugh Capet.
These, as might be expected resemble those in the St Louis series which still exist. The tomb chest is also shown
Monument of Charles le Chauve. This appears to be a brass cast in low relief. Charles V and Jeanne de Bourbon
While the effigy of Charles V still exists that of Jeanne is from the Church of the Celestines and was an entrail burial. He we can see her original effigy and other structures of the tomb.
Two drawings of the monument to Charles VIII. These are similar but not exactly the same but it does give an idea of another monument with a kneeling effigy. He appears to have visited the barber in the coloured version




 
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