Roman Sites in France

Aqueduct of the Gier

The Aqueduct of the Gier is an ancient Roman aqueduct probably constructed in the 1st century AD to provide water for Lugdunum (Lyon), in what is now eastern France. It is the longest and best preserved of four Roman aqueducts that served the growing capital of the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis. It drew its water from the source of the Gier, a small tributary of the Rhone, on the slopes of Mont Pilat, 42 km sou ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Chaponost, France

Roman Bridge

The Roman Bridge at Saint-Thibéry was segmental arch bridge on the Via Domitia in southern France. The structure is dated to the reign of emperor Augustus (30 BC – 14 AD). The ancient bridge had nine arches with spans of 10–12 m. The roadway rested on wide piers, which were protected on both sides by arched floodways and large cutwaters. The original length of the structure is estimated as 150 m, its ro ...
Founded: 30 BC to 14 AD | Location: Saint-Thibéry, France

Roman Pyramid

The Roman Pyramid in Vienne is an emblematic building of the architectural heritage of the city together with the Roman Theatre. It is an unique remain of a Roman circus, where racing took place. The pyramid was the central building of the Roman 'circus maximus'. The 25 meters high obelisk stood in the center of the sand track. Its location on an axial platform (Spina) was confirmed by excavations in the nineteenth an ...
Founded: 100-200 AD | Location: Vienne, France

Gennes Amphitheatre

Remains of the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre date from the 2th century AD. The venue built for gladiator and huntings shows had originally seats for 5000 spectators.
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Gennes, France

Séviac Gallo-Roman Villa

Set on a hilltop surrounded by vineyards and cypresses, the Gallo-Roman villa of Séviac was a luxurious residence, spread over almost 6500m2. It is today one of the largest Gallo-Roman villas known in the south-west of France. The villa was built in the 2nd century AD and reconstructed in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Later in the 8th and 9th centuries the place was used for a church, burials and necropolis. The villa is ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Séviac, France

Lugdunum Convenarum

In 72 BCE the Roman General Pompey, while on the way back to Rome after a military campaign in Spain, founded a Roman colony in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. The goal was to defend the passage to the Aran Valley and the Iberian peninsula. The colony was named Lugdunum Convenarum and had reached around 30,000 people at its highest point. It belonged to the Roman province of Novempopulana and had a growing Christi ...
Founded: 72 BCE | Location: Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, France

Vieux-la-Romaine

During the 1st century AD, Aregenua (Vieux) became the capital of the Viducasse tribe. Situated at the crossroads of two Roman roads it became an important commercial staging town. Aregenua and Lillebonne are the only two capital towns in Gallo-Roman Normandy that did not become Medieval towns. A number of buildings have been excavated, and some have been partially reconstructed.
Founded: 0 - 200 AD | Location: Vieux, France

Alauna Roman Therms

There are imposing remains of the Roman therms of the ancient antique city of Alauna (today Valognes), built in the 1st century AD. The edifice was built in a symetric plan and had about ten rooms, including a steam room, a hot pool and a cold pool. The masonries were elevated at about a dozen metres and neatly built, associating small cubic stone block bases to brick layers.
Founded: 0 - 100 AD | Location: Valognes, France

Ambrussum

Ambrussum is a Roman archaeological site in Villetelle. Ambrussum is notable for its museum, staging post on the Via Domitia, bridge Pont Ambroix over the Vidourle and the oppidum (fortified village). Its history of settlement spanned 400 years. The whole site is still being excavated. A lower settlement prone to flooding was a staging post for travellers on the Via Domitia and provided stabling and accommodation and the ...
Founded: 300 BC | Location: Villetelle, France

Brion Gallo-Roman Theatre

Brion Gallo-Roman Theatre was had a capacity of 2500-3000 people. The fortified house was built to the foundations of theatre in the Middle Ages.
Founded: 1st-3rd century AD | Location: Saint-Germain-d'Esteuil, France

Plassac Gallo-Roman Villa

The Gallo-Roman villa of Plassac is an archaeological site classified as an historic monument with three villas built in the 1st, 2nd and 5th century. Discovered at the end of the nineteenth century, he saw his excavations begin only in the early 1960s alone. On site, it is possible to discover the ruins of the three successive villas, but also a museum explaining the details of the excavation campaign as well as the kno ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Plassac, France

Aqueduct of Luynes

The Luynes aqueduct is a former Gallo-Roman bridge aqueduct located in Luynes, France. The remains show a stack of five arches and it is the most famous Roman monument in the Department of Indre-et-Loire, despite its modest dimensions. It is also one of the best preserved of the Northern aqueducts. It was classified a historical monument in 1862 and is owned by the town of Luynes. It originally had a total leng ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Luynes, France

Corseul Roman Ruins

Corseul was called Fanum Martis ('Temple of Mars') in Latin and was the capital of the Gallo-Roman province of Coriosolites. It was founded in 10 BC. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, like many other cities, Fanum Martis was renamed for its people, the Curiosolitae. This name change occurred as the Roman Empire weakened and paralleled a revival of the ancient Gallic gods in local religious sculptures and dedicatory ...
Founded: 10 BC | Location: Corseul, France

Gisacum

In the 2nd century AD, the city-sanctuary of Gisacum extended near Saint-Aubin, which was gradually abandoned until disappearing in 5th century. In the 1801 archaeological excavations uncovered this important Gallo-Roman site; but in reality at the time the town covered an area of 250 ha. The interpretation centre has a permanent exhibition tracing the history of Gisacum, and the archaeological garden offers an original d ...
Founded: 0 - 100 AD | Location: Le Vieil-Évreux, France

Lillebonne Roman Amphitheatre

Lillebonne is located on the north banks of the Seine River. From the first to the third centuries AD the town, then called Juliobona by the Romans – a homage to Julius Cesar, was a very prosperous port. The relatively well preserved Roman amphitheatre (capable of holding 3,000 persons) and baths are all that remains from these times. Many Roman and Gallic relics, notably a bronze statue of a woman and two fine mosaics, ...
Founded: 0 - 200 AD | Location: Lillebonne, France

Fréjus Roman Aqueduct

The aqueduct of Fréjus was built in the middle of the first century after the ramparts were in place. It functioned for 450 years until the 5th century. It is 42 km long, with a difference in altitude between the highest spring of Neïssoun and the castellum aquae in the city of 481 m. The aqueduct runs mostly in a covered conduit for 36.4 km and for 1.8 km on bridges and 500 m on walls. Large parts of the aqueduct are s ...
Founded: c. 50 AD | Location: Fréjus, France

Montcaret Gallo-Roman Villa

In Montcaret village are two sites of interest: the Roman style church and the archaeological site based around the excavations of a Roman villa. The two sites are adjacent in the heart of the village. The important villa in Montcaret was occupied from the 1st century to the 5th century. Although the main structure of the house has long since disappeared, you can still see the layout with the position of such rooms as th ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Montcaret, France

Nemetacum

Arras was founded on the hill of Baudimont by the Celtic tribe of the Atrebates, who named it Nemetacum or Nemetocena in reference to a nemeton (sacred grove) that probably existed there. It was later renamed Atrebatum by the Romans, under whom it became an important garrison town. The archaeological site Nemetacum in Arras is one of the rare sanctuaries devoted to the oriental god Attis in France.
Founded: 15 BC | Location: Arras, France

Loupiac Gallo-Roman Villa

The Gallo-Roman Villa of Loupiac was built in the 1st century AD and it was in use until 5th century. The bath was decorated with multicolor mosaics in the late 4th century.
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Loupiac, France

Loupian Roman villa

Excavations on a three-hectare site south of the Loupian village have revealed remains of a Roman farm villa with extensive 2nd-century Gallo-Roman mosaics. The site was occupied for more than 600 years. Originally a modest farmstead built a few kilometres south of the Via Domitia, on the hillside overlooking the Bassin de Thau, it rapidly prospered and grew. During the early Empire, in the 1st and 2nd centuries, the vil ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Loupian, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.