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Seine-Saint-Denis Property Listings and Info

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'le Manchester français'

The Seine-Saint-Denis is not only one of the smallest departments in France but also one of the most densely populated. Unlike the other departments that make up the Ile-de-France, the Seine-Saint-Denis has struggled to establish an identity for itself since it became a department in its own right in 1964. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the area that is now Seine-Saint-Denis encompassed the largest industrial zone in the whole of France. It was even known as 'le Manchester français'! Unfortunately, this meant that Seine-Saint-Denis was also one of the areas hardest hit by the industrial crisis and high unemployment suffered by France in recent years.

Le Stade - the route to economic recovery?

If you fly into Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport and take the train into the centre you pass through the Seine-Saint-Denis. This industrial landscape does not make for a particularly scenic journey but the area is showing signs of recovery. This is in part due to the decision to stage the 1998 football World Cup finals in the department just south of its capital, St-Denis. The vast, hi-tech stadium which was built to stage the event - the Stade de France - is also clearly visible from the train window as you travel from Charles de Gaulle into central Paris. The towering stadium, which is the largest multifunction Olympic-sized stadium in the world, now hosts concerts and a variety of sports competitions each of which brings a welcome injection of cash into the department.

The burial ground of kings

The town of St-Denis, and its very distinct community, is focused around its magnificent cathedral, the Basilica de St-Denis. For 1,200 years, from the reign of Dagobert right through to the reign of Louis XVIII, all the kings of France were buried here. The Basilica was the first cathedral to feature a large chancel and was the model for many late 12th century cathedrals including the cathedral in Chartres. It is generally considered to be the birthplace of the Gothic style in European architecture. The Basilica suffered badly during the French Revolution but Napoleon carried out urgent repairs and returned the cathedral to something close to its former glory. Today, visitors can take an hour long tour of the cathedral, its tombs and the crypt.

A collection with communist connections

Not far from the Basilica, you will come across the town's Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in a restored section of a former Carmelite covent. The museum's collection includes an excellent exhibition on local archeology, nineteenth and twentieth century industrial landscape paintings and a superb reconstruction of an apothecary's shop. The museum also houses a collection of documents relating to the Paris Commune of 1871. This reflects the fact that St-Denis is the stronghold of the Communist party, with all the streets having left-wing names.

Markets galore!

St-Denis has a thrice weekly market (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday) in the square by the town hall and the covered halles nearby. This is a multi-ethnic affair and there is always a great deal of offal for sale. Nearby Saint-Ouen has the world's largest flea market known as Les Puces de Saint-Ouen which is particularly popular with American visitors.

How to get there?

Given the Seine-Saint-Denis' proximity to Paris, travel to the department is very easy. Charles de Gaulle airport is actually located in the department so this is probably the best option if you are flying. Alternatively, you can take the Eurostar from London to the centre of Paris and then take a connecting train to Seine-Saint-Denis.

Seine-Saint-Denis property prices

The Seine-Saint-Denis is relatively expensive due to its proximity to Paris. However, this is the cheapest of the three departments that make up the 'petit couronne' around the centre of Paris. The area is highly industrialised and there is not a great deal of high quality residential property available.

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Seine-Saint-Denis AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Seine-Saint-Denis?

The Seine-Saint-Denis is located in the Ile-de-France just to the north-east of the centre of Paris.

Seine-Saint-Denis Property Map

IN THE REGION OF ÎLE-DE-FRANCE

Île-de-France Guide

Île-de-France Property Map

IN RELATION TO THE REST OF ÎLE-DE-FRANCE

GUIDES TO THE TOWNS/CITIES IN Seine-Saint-Denis

Aubervilliers Guide

AGENTS WITH PROPERTY FOR SALE IN Seine-Saint-Denis

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