Located 10km north of the centre of Paris, Saint-Denis started life as the village of Catolacus before adopting the name of a Christian martyr buried there after his beheading on nearby Montmartre. His tomb became a place of worship, and a chapel was built on it until, around 630AD, King Dagobert I turned it into a royal monastery, which he granted independence from the Bishop of Paris. Some 75 kings and queens, from Dagobert I to Louis XVIII, are buried in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis.
Known as Franciade during the French Revolution, the prevalence of socialist administrations at the start of the last century earned it the nickname 'la Ville Rouge' (the Red City). Hard hit by the decline of heavy industry in the 1970s, the construction of the Stade de France and arrival of the metro brought fresh impetus to the place thought to have the most youthful population in the country.
Stade de France
UEFA capacity: 80,000
Tenants: France national team
Opened: January 1998
• Constructed ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the Stade de France has hosted major events in football, rugby, athletics, motorsport and concerts from artists ranging from André Rieu to AC/DC.
• The venue features movable seating, which can be retracted to uncover part of the athletics track, while the elliptical roof was designed to protect spectators while leaving the pitch uncovered.
• It has the unique distinction of having hosted World Cup finals for football (France 3-0 Brazil, 1998) and rugby (South Africa 15-6 England, 2007).
• The arena has staged two UEFA Champions League finals, Real Madrid CF's 3-0 win against Valencia CF in 2000 and FC Barcelona's 2-1 triumph over Arsenal FC six years later.
• U2 held three dates of their U2 360° Tour at the Stade de France in 2009 and 2010, attracting an aggregate attendance of 283,084.