I realised just yesterday that it has been nearly 3 months since my last post on a Ancient Roman theme- and so I thought it was highly imperative that I correct the situation 🙂
It doesn’t take an expert to know the Roman town of Lutetia- you only needed to have read Asterix to know that Lutetia many many years later became the modern Paris!
Unlike many other cities with well preserved Roman ruins (and also because Lutetia wasn’t a very big city) there is not much of a Roman Paris left for visitors today. Yet there are little things that one can visit and observe.
1. Amphitheatre of Lutetia/ Les Arenes de Lutece
As I have mentioned before in my older posts most Roman towns normally had a Forum, a Basilica, a temple to the main deity, public bath(s) and amphitheatre(s). Lutetia was no exception and had an amphitheatre which could hold an estimated 10,000 people.
However almost nothing remains of the original amphitheatre today but for some traces.
But this was how it might have looked originally
There is a nice modern inscription placed at the entrance which reads roughly “It was here in the 2nd Century AD that the municipal life of Paris was born. 10,000 people could easily be accommodated here at the Amphitheatre of Lutece where nautical games were played out after gladiatorial combats. ……”
2. The Cluny Baths
Now a wonderful museum about the Middle Ages, the Musee de Cluny stands upon the remains of a public bath. Inside the museum one can still see the remains of the Frigidarium- which also currently holds in display certain other Roman artifacts that were dug up in other parts of Paris.
3. The Crypts under Notre Dame
This area is an amazing walk through history- one can see not just Roman ruins but also visualise how the Ile de la Cite developed through the ages layer on layer. One can see Roman underground heating installed- you can’t miss the hypocausts once you know them.
Lutetia was not a very big town as opposed to what Paris today. But what is there today is in no small part influenced by the Roman settlement with its standard layout and features.