Roman Sites in 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

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

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

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

Toulouse Roman Amphitheatre

The amphitheatre of Toulouse-Purpan is constructed on a filled structure, unlike those in Arles, Nîmes, and the Colosseum in Rome, where a hollow structure composed of vaults and pillars supports the tiers. The cavea (the rows of seats intended to receive the public) is fifteen meters wide. This area is separated from the arena by a wall and bound at the outside by a high wall covered in brick. The cavea is divided into ...
Founded: 40 AD | Location: Toulouse, France

Briga

Briga was a medium sized Roman town that was discovered during the digging of a local road shortly after the French Revolution. From the first century AD onwards, the Romans developed a substantial sanctuary complex on the site of what was a Celtic shrine, as well as the other features one finds at Roman towns, such a theatre, bathhouses and a forum.
Founded: 0 - 200 AD | Location: Eu, France

Montmaurin Gallo-Roman Villa

The Gallo-Roman villa of Montmaurin dates from the first centuryies AD. The most ancient part, the residential section, now open to the public, dates from the 1st century. It was extended and enhanced in the 4th century then remained occupied until the early 6th century. The area where the accommodation and farming outbuildings (forges, brick and tile production, weaving, etc.) stood stretched to the southeast of the bat ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Montmaurin, France

Lalonquette Gallo-Roman Museum

Located in Northern Bearn in the Atlantic-Pyrenees, the gallo-roman museum of Lalonquette traced the history of a rural gallo-roman house build during the first century and which developed until the fifth century of our era. Supported by an elaborated museography depicting the restored mosaics and thanks to a playful approach illustrated by showcases of the collections, the museum offers to discover the specificities of t ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Lalonquette, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.