Take a leap in time, in the Arènes de Lutèce
Category : Hotel Corona Rodier
There are few remains of the Gallo-Roman era in Paris, once called Lutetia by the Romans. But those which were preserved are really impressive ! Let's go to the 5th district, on the other side of the Seine river, to discover the Lutetia arenas.
They date from the 1st century AD, built around year 200... The Lutetia arenas would be the longest Roman amphitheater ever built ! Left abandoned, buried under a heap of earth, it was rediscovered in 1869 during the construction of the nearby rue Monge. Napoleon III didn't will to finance its renovation, so it was covered again before being treated to its true value, with a new restoration in 1917-1918. An impressive building was then uncovered, able to accommodate about 15,000 persons - while Paris had around 20,000 inhabitants at the time ! - who came to see plays or circus and gladiatorial shows. You can still see the location of the stage and the actors' dressing rooms! Then take a walk in the garden area where thousands of species of flowers and shrubs are planted.
Nowadays, the arena is used as a petanque court or for neighborhood parties, where 70 years ago basketball competitions were held in the open air, and where wild animals used to fight 2000 years ago ! Can you picture this ???
Classified as a historical monument, the arenas access is free and open to the public and will be a very pleasant stop during your visit of the Latin Quarter, also mythical. Don't miss the other unmissable vestige of the district and of the capital : the Cluny thermal baths, located only 15 minutes walking.
49 rue Monge, 75005 Paris
From 8am or 9am to 6/7.30pm or 8.30pm, depending on the season.
Metro Cardinal Lemoine (7-10), bus 47, RER C (Cluny la Sorbonne or Paris-Austerlitz)
Photos Amandine Goetz