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"Roman Lutetia #1 ? The Archaeological Crypt" Crypte Archéologique - Archaeological Crypt Tip by tiabunna

  Ancient wall footings
by tiabunna
  • Ancient wall footings - Paris
      Ancient wall footings
    by tiabunna
  • Roman mosaics - Paris
      Roman mosaics
    by tiabunna
  • Section of Roman baths - Paris
      Section of Roman baths
    by tiabunna
  • General view of N.D. Archaeological crypt. - Paris
      General view of N.D. Archaeological crypt.
    by tiabunna

To wind the clock back two millennia: after defeating the native Gauls, the Romans needed an administrative base. A site on what is now the Ile de la Cite had the advantage of being readily defensible and at a major crossroads. The resulting town of Lutetia became so congenial that in 358, the Roman Emperor Julian based himself there for three years – he even proclaimed himself Emperor while living there (predating Napoleon in that regard by nearly one and a half millenia)!

Now, here’s the amazing part: you can visit the remains of Lutetia (Lutèce in French) for very little cost, yet most visitors to Paris walk right across them without knowing they’re there! Where are they? Under the Place du Parvis, the large square in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, in what is called the “Notre Dame Archaeological Crypt”. A tangle of very old buildings occupied this area until the 19th Century, but they had been built on top of the remains of Lutetia. When those buildings were removed, their footings and the more ancient underlying layers were left undisturbed. Only quite recently have archaeological studies been made, and it is the findings from these which you can visit. Here you will find the footings of the Roman city wall, dating from the year 308 (main photo); sections of Roman mosaics (photo 2); parts of the Roman thermal baths (photo 3); not to mention the remains of other buildings spanning nearly two thousand years (photo 4)

Cost: Sorry, I didn’t keep a record, but very moderate and with discounts for the Paris Museum Pass.

Address: Place du Parvis
Directions: Directly in front of Notre Dame
Phone: +33 1 55 42 50 10

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 28, 2007
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