The church would have "the most radiant windows" to "illuminate men's minds so that they may travel through apprehension of God's light."The Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis wanted to create a church that would be even greater than the famous Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople. The church he commissioned, Basilique Saint-Denis, became a model for most of the late 12th-century French cathedrals, including those at Chartres and Senlis. The facade is primarily Romanesque, but many details in the church move away from the low Romanesque style. The Church of Saint-Denis was the first large building to use the new vertical style known as Gothic.
--Suger, Abbot of Saint-Denis
Originally the Church of Saint-Denis had two towers, but one collapsed in 1837.