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Re: Louis VII Red mark on grave

The French guillotined their king and queen, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
(1793). A royal burial  was impossible. Louis and his queen were buried in
the same cemetery as  other  guillotined persons. they were buried in open
coffins to speed decomposition. The French desecrated the Royal Tombs at St.
Denis (1793). People took souvenirs, like a shoulder blade of Hugues Capet
(d. 996),  the first Capet king,  the beard of king Henri IV (d. 1610). An
archaeologist Alexandre Lenoir saved many of the monuments from destruction,
by claiming them for his Museum of French Monuments. The abbey decayed,  in
revolutionary France Christianity had been replaced by the Religion of

The architect Viollet-le-Duc, famous for his work on Notre Dame in Paris,
worked on St. Denis from 1858 till his death in 1879. The funeral monuments
that were taken to the Museum of French Monuments were returned and the St
Denis (which became a cathedral in 1966) now also has a collection of
funeral monuments from Parisian churches which were demolished during the
French Revolution. The corpse of king Louis VII (d. 1180), who had been
buried in the South his grave marked with red paint and had escaped the
attention of the revolutionaries, was brought to St. Denis and buried in the
crypt.  The graves were marked  with the word "Parole".  I have no knowledge
of any other marks

"Parole" is the French word for "promise.  The word is often written to show
Royal graves.The Abbey of Saint Denis, which is located about 17 kilometres
north of Paris, is the last resting place of most of the French kings and
queens. Saint Denis was the first bishop of Lutetia (Paris). According to
the legend he was beheaded by the Romans on a hill (we known as Montmartre),
after which he picked up his head and walked away. He was buried at the spot
where he fell and abbey was built to mark the place. From the 6th century
on, French kings chose the abbey as their place of burial.

In 1122 the  Abbe Suger (later Regent of France whilst Louis VII was on a
Crusade) was named abbot of Saint Denis by king Louis VI the Fat. In 1136 he
ordered the building of a new abbey church, which was finished in 1147.
Around 1260 King Louis IX, (Saint Louis), put monuments on the graves of his
predecessors The funeral monuments bore the word   word Parole The monuments
are still in the church.

Napoleon  reopened the church in 1806, after  repairs. He was as much an
enemy of the Bourbon kings as the revolutionaries were, so the royal remains
were left in their mass-graves. In 1813 the architect Debret started working
on the church. His work was a disaster and as a result one of the church's
two spires had to be demolished in 1846.  The church today has still only
got one spire.

During Napoleon's first exile, to  Elba, the Bourbons briefly returned to
power. They ordered a search for the corpses of Louis XVI and Marie
Antoinette, they were found on 21 January 1815  and taken to St. Denis. They
were buried in the crypt. On the place of their original graves, the
Chapelle Expiatore was built (1816-1821). It is situated on  Boulevard
Haussmann, Paris.

After Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo (1815) the Bourbons  searched for
the remains of their ancestors. The mass-graves were opened in 1817, but it
had of course become impossible to distinguish any individuals in the mass
of bones. Therefore, the remains were put in a small room in St. Denis'
crypt, behind two marble plates with all their names on them. The coffin of
the Crown Prince, duke Charles Ferdinand of Berry, who was stabbed to death
by a lone fanatic as he left the Opera on 13 February 1820, can be seen in
another room in the crypt. King Louis XVIII, who died on 16 September 1824,
was buried in the centre of the crypt, close to the graves of Louis XVI and
Marie Antoinette.


Ref Guide Michelin, Paris et sa banlieue, Paris, 1976
L'Encyclopedie des Nuisances  1986 Paris

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