Rue Saint-Denis (Paris)

Rue Saint-Denis (Paris)

Pedestrian Rue Saint Denis in Les Halles district
Length 1,334 m (4,377 ft)
Width 1,630 m (5,350 ft)
Arrondissement 1st, 2nd
Quarter Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, Halles, Bonne Nouvelle
From Avenue Victoria
To Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle
Completion 1st century

Rue Saint-Denis is one of the oldest streets in Paris. Its route was first laid out in the 1st century by the Romans, and then extended to the north in the Middle Ages. From the Middle Ages to the present day, the street has become notorious as a place of prostitution. Its name derives from it being the historic route to Saint-Denis.

The street extends as far as the 1st arrondissement and Rue de Rivoli to the south and as far as the 2nd arrondissement and the boulevard Saint-Denis to the north. It runs parallel to the boulevard de Sébastopol.


The ancient Roman route (Flanders road) leading to Saint-Denis, Pontoise and Rouen it competed with the "route de Senlis" (see rue Saint-Martin) but gained an advantage over it with the demolition of the Grand Pont (see Pont au Change) and the development of the royal abbey of Saint-Denis, becoming the triumphal way for royal entries into the capital.

Flanked by houses from 1134 onwards, the street has borne the alternative names of Sellerie de Paris and Sellerie de la Grande Rue (13th century) ; grand'rue de Paris ; grande rue or rue des Saints Innocents et grant chaussée de Monsieur / Monseigneur Saint-Denis (14th century). During the French Revolution, it was known as the rue de Franciade.

The street was one of the centres of the June Rebellion of 1832, immortalised in Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables, and which is referred to in the book as the "Epic of the Rue Saint-Denis".[1]


The neighborhood around the rue Saint-Denis is now above all made up of sex shops, with the part situated between rue Réaumur and boulevard Saint-Denis notorious as a place of prostitution. The street also contains some clothes shops, bars and restaurants, as well as the church of Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles, a bank, and the Chambre des notaires building. The Frog and Rosbif Brew Pub is located here, one of only a very small number of cask conditioned beer producers in France.

Famous buildings


  1. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, Book 4: The Idyll of the Rue Plumet and the Epic of the Rue Saint-Denis.
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Coordinates: 48°51′51″N 2°21′0″E / 48.86417°N 2.35000°E / 48.86417; 2.35000

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