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Basilica of St Denis

The tomb of queen Arégonde

Arégonde is known to us thanks to Grégoire de Tours. The latter recounts indeed in his History of the Franks that queen Ingonde, after having asked her husband, Clotaire 1st, to find a husband worthy of his rank for her sister Arégonde, was repudiated in favour of this sister. In 534, Arégonde gave birth to Chilpéric 1st.

Jewels from the tomb of queen Arégonde
Jewels from the tomb of queen Arégonde (towards 580-590), n° 49 excavations by M. Fleur. Preserved at the Louvre museum. © Arnaudet - RMN

Restitution of queen Arégonde?s apparel . Drawing by E. Krähenbühl, P. Périn. © National Antiquities museumIn 1959, Michel Fleury disovered the intact sepulchre in a remarkable state of conservation. The tomb, studied in the laboratory by Albert France-Lanord, made it possible to learn about the apparel of a rich Merovingian lady. The deceased wore a violet silk dress, secured by a large leather belt, adorned with a buckle-plate and plywood lavishly decorated. Her reddish-brown silk tunic, decorated with golden embroidered braid trim, was attached by a pair of round fibulae decorated with fragmented red garnets. Two small pins and a larger pin inlaid with garnets secured her silk veil. Her hosiery was held up with garters and the straps lacing her leather shoes were fitted with small buckle-plates, plywood and belts with animal motifs.

Insignia ring in the name of Arégonde . © Arnaudet - RMNThe queen, identified thanks to an inscription on her insignia ring, was to have died betwwen 70 and 80 years old, in the years 580-590, a half century before Dagobert Ier first king of the Merovingian dynasty to choose, in 638, the basilica for his final resting place.

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