Born in the Christian community of Lyon, Saint Denis was sent to Paris to build the Church in the 3rd century. He became the first bishop.
In the year 257, it was Beheaded in Montmartre with his companions after being spotted by a Roman Governor. He would then have risen, walking for six kilometers with his head in his arms, and would have given the latter to a believer before collapsing. It is in this place that the Basilica of Saint-Denis was built to pay tribute to the Bishop.
His martyr is mentioned several times in Notre-Dame de Paris:
– (1) at the portal of the Virgin, on the left of the façade, Saint Denis, surrounded by two angels, is recognizable by the head which he carries in his hands; at his feet, a man holding an axe, while a sign presents the executioner's package;
– (2) at the southern gate, dedicated to Saint Stephen, Deacon who was the first of the Christian martyrs, Saint Denis is again represented: here he holds his skull cap and not the head; at his side, his two fellow martyrs: the priest Éleuthère and the rustic Deacon ;
– (3) in the South rose, a medallion depicts him holding his head on his knees;
– his martyr is also on a wooden panel of the choir stalls;
– (4) a statue of Nicolas Coustou, in the north transept, represents him;
– in the large verrières of the choir, he is represented in the middle of the Bishops of Paris;
– the Cardinal Lustiger wanted them to be represented in a contemporary way, above the Ambon of the sanctuary, by the artist Jean Touret.