Saint Dionysius (or Denis) has, for many centuries, been regarded as the patron saint of France.
It is believed that Saint Dionysius was sent to preach the Gospel at Lutetia Parisiorum (modern Paris) in Gaul around 250. He was beheaded in 258 with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius at Montmartre (Hill of the Martyrs). A later legend claims that Saint Dionysius carried his severed head from Montmartre to his burial place at Vicus Catulliacus, now known as Saint Denis. The abbey of Saint-Denis, where French kings were interred, was built on the site of their martyrdom.
The identification of this Saint Dionysius with Saint Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3) appears to be an error made by a ninth century writer.