The Legend of Saint Denis
If the numerous forests and springs had brought the Gallic and the Romans to make this mount their favorite place of worship, centuries later its religious vocation would be confirmed due to the wealth of its limestone subsoil. In fact, the numerous excavations dug by men capitalizing on theses quarries would later be used as a hideout for the persecuted Christians looking for a place to pray. Saint Denis, first bishop of the region, would have even carried out his first evangelizations here. Arrested, then tortured, he apparently died decapitated, never denying his faith. The legend relates that, guided by an angel, he traversed the mount, his head in his hands, to his burial ground. The mount, until then called the "Mount of Mars" or the "Mount of Mercury", eventually took the name "Mount of Martyrs", and the name Montmartre was derived from it. Near the end of the fifth century, a basilica was erected on the place where the remains of St. Denis rest. And Montmartre, until then a sacred place, became a frequent destination for pilgrimages.