If, in your Paris wanderings, you’ve spent some time at Notre Dame admiring all the statues of saints and kings adorning the front of the cathedral, you may have found yourself wondering, “Who’s that decapitated guy holding his head in his hands?”
The headless man in question is Saint Denis, a martyr with a strange and incredible story.
Saint Denis was the first bishop of Paris, back in the third century when Paris was still very much a Roman city. The prodigious number of conversions Denis performed got him on the bad side of the local pagan priests. So the Roman rulers of Paris had Denis arrested and brought him to the highest hill in Paris, now known as Montmartre, where he was executed by — you guessed it — beheading. Now, here comes the good part: It’s said that immediately after Denis was killed, he picked up his head…
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