Roman Arena

Paris was under Roman control as from 52 BC (Caesar) until the end of the 3rd century, although there was a Roman presence even later, until the middle of the 5th century. The central Roman place, the Forum was placed between the present Pantheon and the Luxembourg Gardens, where now is Rue Soufflot. There are a few underground Gallo-Roman traces left under Notre Dame (which can be visited) and also of a Roman theatre close to Boulevard-Saint-Michel. More visible are the Roman ruins of the Cluny Baths close to the Boulevard Saint-Germain and Boulevard Saint-Michel and of the Lutetian Arena or Amphitheatre, Rue Monge.

Lutetia, Lutèce in French, was the name given to the future Paris by the Romans. (The name of Paris comes from the Celtic tribe, Parisii, who lived here before the arrival of the Romans.)

The Arena was basically in use between the end of the 1st and the end of the 3rd century. The stones were then used for other constructions and the Arena more or less disappeared and was forgotten until new planned construction work during the 19th century les do its rediscovery. It was then decided to save what was left and the “Arènes de Lutèce” were opened for public in 1892. There is probably more to be found underground, but present surrounding buildings can hardly be demolished.

It was actually an arena for gladiator combats, but it served also as an amphitheatre for more cultural events. 17.000 people could be seated.Today, it’s a place for kids to play soccer, for some older gentlemen to play “pétanque” ... or you can just sit on the steps and relax.In the beginning of the 20th century what is called "Square Capitan" was added, making the surrounding area a bit nicer and offering some playground for kids and some other leisure activites, or non-activites. There is an excellent website, offered by the City of Paris, where you can find some nice illustrations of Paris during Roman times.
You can find some of these pictures on my photo-blog.


lyliane six said...

Ils ont été reconvertis en terrain de jeux, mais pas les mêmes.Est ce dans ces arènes que les lions se sont couchés au pieds de sainte Blandine?
Je suis sûre que tu vas trouver la réponse.Bises de la future saint Lyliane, qui ne sera pas jetée dans la fosse aux lions j'espère, mais qui va aller se jeter dans son lit.

lyliane six said...

Sur le site de la ville de Paris, je crois voir ton appartement, tu es à la fenêtre et tu fumes, il y a de la fumée plein la rue, fais attention, c'est peut être comme cela que Néron a mis le feu à Rome!!
Le marchand de sable est entrain de passer, je vais faire dodo.

catied said...

You are artist, tour guide and history prof all in one! I am making a map of all the places to remember and visit when i finally arrive in paris. thank you for making my dream a little more real. I love all the comments in french too as i struggle with my second year of the beautiful language of france!

Shionge said...

Oh this is something new to me and it's great to catch up with what I've missed in Paris ;)

Hey Peter, I think it is a big strawberry versus the peach ;D

HZDP said...

hi,pete,it's always so informative here, one of our college courses is Western culture, and your blog is really inspiring for me. thx

Azer Mantessa said...

i played “pétanque” when i was in guinea, africa. simple but it requires skills. those men back there are good at it. i never win ... ahaks.

these days i'm more into ping pong rather squash. it demands less physical fitness but still helps me to remain sharp.

claude said...

Je ne me rappelle pas avoir vu cet endroit. Une découverte pour moi. Un passé historique de Paris. L'escalier est superbe. Si cet endroit est devenu un espace de jeux pour les gosses, c'est très bien.

hpy said...

Des fois je me demande si tu n'es pas le seul parisien à visiter Paris de fond en comble.Tu as eu une très bonne idée à vouloir faire ce guide blog de Paris à l'attention de tous, touristes et parisiens aussi.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
This is a wonderful piece of history portrayed in your most telling way. I enjoy reading it and looking at the pictures and following the box area to the other illustrations. Very neat and professional.

Anonymous said...

Salve, Petrus - ou bien: salut, Pierrot ;-)) As the Romans don't know any word for photo I have to switch to English. (The truth is I have forgotten all Latin).

It seems the Romans have been everywhere in Europe and they have even left their language in France. But astonishingly there are not so many Roman traces in Paris. Have they all disappeared or are they hidden under all the buildings now?

Great information, visually well prepared by Pierrot.

Thérèse said...

It's even a place for Peter who takes great pictures to share with the world!

Anonymous said...

I never knew about this, Peter. It looks like a great place, and being used well.

Noushy Syah said...

Thanks Peter.Today I learned something new about Paris- history of the arena.

Love the steps..a good way to exercise while enjoying the site.

PeterParis said...

Sainte Blandine, martyrisée à Lyon (source Google).
Il s'agit d'une bonne fumée qui sort des Bains de Cluny! Pas de danger!

I'm happy if my blog can be ueseful!

Yes, but don't you feel a bit stupid when you get home from a trip and realise what you have missed? I know, you cannot do everything!

PeterParis said...

I wish I could go to a course about Eastern culture!

The important is not to win...! I believe ping pong or table tennis is tougher than pétanque... more calories used!

Tu reviens bientôt à Paris?

PeterParis said...

D'abord, j'apprends pour moi-même! La ville est trop belle pour être ignorée!

I'm happy that you appreciate!

You are like me... four years of Latin for "nothing"!
I guess there must still be a lot to be found, maybe by future generations.

PeterParis said...

I forgot to say Salve Aprilis!

PeterParis said...

I'm happy to share!

It's quite a nice place, but I believe it's especially of historical interest.

I would recommend some more active exercising!

lyliane six said...

C'est une histoire de lions avec sainte Blandine, je savais que tu saurais.

PeterParis said...

Merci Google!

Cergie said...

Je suis contente d'avoir ta vision (encyclopédique) des Arènes. J'aime bien me mettre sur les gradins et observer la vie autour. Il y a aussi des arbres dits "remarquables".
(Tu as trouvé de très beaux angles de prise de vue.)

PeterParis said...

Tu n'as pas vu le site de la ville sur les temps romains?