For most of the twentieth century, St-Denis, 10km north of the centre of Paris and accessible by métro (M° St-Denis-Basilique), was one of the most heavily industrialized communities in France, and a bastion of the Communist party. Since those days, factories have closed, unemployment is rife and immigration has radically altered the ethnic mix. For bourgeois Parisians, the political threat of the banlieue rouge ("red suburbs") has become the social threat of the banlieue chaude ("hot suburbs"). Visitors, however, are likely to find a buoyant, youthful community one in three of its residents are under 25, a far cry from the silver-haired centre of Paris its pride buttressed by the town's twin attractions: the ancient basilica of St-Denis and the hyper-modern Stade-de-France, seat of the 1998 World Cup final.
Pages in section ‘St-Denis’: The legend of Saint Denis, The town, Basilique St-Denis.