A little bit more about Paris history

Sorry, no large photo today - just some Paris history.

Paris, then called Lutetia (Lutetia Parisorium, Lutèce) was Roman during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries.This is more or less what it is supposed to have looked like. The white-framed picture is “stolen” from an interesting site, “Paris, a Roman city”. I just added something in red.

I already made posts about the trace of a Roman aqueduct, the Roman amphitheatre and the Roman baths. There are some other traces, including a theatre, which today are hidden under a school building, Boulevard Saint Michel.

A blogger friend, “PARIS-BISE-ART”, made a post about a big stone, which seems to be what is left of the Roman “highway”, the “Cardo Maximus” (the red dotted line on the plan above) leading from the south, through Lutetia (present streets Rue Saint-Jacques, Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Jacques and Rue de la Tombe-Issoire, continuing northwards on the other Seine bank, split into Rue Saint-Martin and Rue Saint-Denis). You can find the stone just in front of the small church (possibly the oldest remaining in Paris), Saint-Julien-du-Pauvre, close to Rue Saint-Jacques. (More about this church in a previous post.)

Another discovery by “PARIS-BISE-ART” is some kind of indirect souvenir of the Philippe-Auguste wall - on which I have posted a number of times, see the most recent one. A very narrow building, at least the front of it, on Boulevard Saint-Germain, fills the empty space where the wall passed. Once more it’s astonishing to see how Google Earth helps you to see that a lot of walls of existing buildings still follow the trace of the wall.


Shammickite said...

Peter, I firmly believe that you are a genius! You have such an enquiring mind, and you uncover so many interesting facts about the history of your beautiful city. Fascinating.

Trotter said...

Hi Peter! Sorry for another long absence, but after a busy start of the year I decided to make a break during the Carnival week, anticipating new hard weeks ahead!!

I love that Marais zone... And the story of the walls is amazing!

joanna said...


Loved this post well actually love them all-- but this one especially -- from one stone you uncovered history,,C'est magnifique! Thanks for sharing; and major bonus points for photos.


James said...

This is amazing as well as very interesting. It's all so a reminder of how old Paris really is. Great post.

Virginia said...

Professor Olson, you've outdone yourself this time. Great info and now I'm regretting that while I was in the lovely old St. Julien du Pauvre, I didn't know about the stone!

I'm also trying to figure out how you do all the arrows etc on your maps! I can't go there. I"m lucky to enlarge my photos now, thanks to you! :)

La Belette Rouge said...

Do you give tours? Seriously! And, if so, will you tell me bee jokes as we tour Paris. I love a tour guide who is incredibly knowledgeable who knows some killer bee jokes.;-)

Jilly said...

What a beautiful Roman stone. You are amazing in the way you unearth the incredible history of Paris.

claude said...

C'dst incoyable le ttravail de recherche que tus fais pour nous faire découvrir les dessous de Paris.
Virginia a raison quand elle t'appelle Professeur

Olivier said...

waouhh impressionnant, tu passes ta vie dans les bibliothèques pour trouver toutes ces histoires ?

Cezar and Léia said...

Your posts always amazes me.How do you discover those fabulous treasures?I liked a lot that small church and the old stone!
Thanks for sharing!

hpy said...

Finalement il y a énormément de vieilleries dans Paris. (Je ne dis pas que vous allez bien ensemble, mais c'est pourtant le cas...)

Pardon, pardon, je me tire les cheveux et les oreilles, je me tords le nez et je me flagelle le dos!

Adam said...

You are becoming a real expert in the subject of the Philippe Auguste wall! Impressive stuff.

Funny that you should mention Lutetia today. I posted last night about Paris history evenings in a bar run by someone called Sylvanie de Lutèce!

Anya said...

Very interesting
thanks for sharing :-)
I love Paris !!!

Bagman and Butler said...

Absolutely fascinating as always. I really hope you are keeping copies of your posts...I can't imagine that you couldn't turn it into a best-seller, putting Fodor out of business.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with Bagman. Fodor, et.al, better watch their backs. :-)


Cergie said...

Je vois un aspect positif à tous tes messages c'est que tu repères pleins d'endroits où au cas où tu te retrouverais sans domicile tu pourrais aller loger. Ce banc par exemple, il est peut-être à l'air libre mais tu pourrais y venir griller tes cigarettes et faire des rencontres. Ou disserter sur ta philosophie de la vie en pagne. Je suis sûre que tu aurais plein de disciples, déjà il y aurait Adam et moi. Et puis les gens te ferait l'aumone et cela aggrémenterait ta retraite.

(Comme Hpy : "pardon, pardon, je me tire les cheveux et les oreilles, je me tords le nez et je me flagelle le dos!")


Hi Peter,
I enjoy following your blog and hope to meet you in person one of thesedays in Paris.
Always such great pictures and interesting things to read.
Have a nice day,

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» was quite fascinated with this, Peter!
Having lived on rue Saint-Antoine in le Marais, he's seen the wall on rue des Jardins St. Paul and the items you posted on rue des Rosiers et rue des Francs Bourgeois. He's seen the remains of the baths in the foundations of Cluny, but missed the other items you posted.

Excellent post!

BLOGitse said...

I don't need Lonely Planet - I have your blog!


Rakesh Vanamali said...


I'm familiar with the name Lutetia, owing to my reading Asterix!

However, to hear the account from someone right at the heart of it.......is superb!


Starman said...

Fascinating stuff as usual. I've noticed there seem to be several streets that are named " Rue du Faubourg-Something". What is that about? Never mind. According to Google, "faubourg" is an old word that meant "suburbs". In today's vocabulary, the word has been generally replaced by the word "banlieue".

Mona said...

Ah! So now I know that they talk about Paris when they talk about Lutetia in Asterix! :)

Also I read the name in Shakespeare's Anthony & Cleopatra last week!

Blogorum Catherina said...

Veni, vidi, accepi !

Unknown said...

How very interesting, Peter! I've never seen Paris from this point of view. Just great!

krystyna said...

Wow! Interesting story!
Great job as always Peter!

Have a wonderful days!

Peter (the other) said...

Peter, perhaps you might confirm a couple of scraps of unattributed knowledge that I retain:

1) The small hill in the SW corner of the Jardin des Plantes is actually the old Roman garbage tip?

b) Another piece of the wall, including an access point for the once diverted Bievre, is visible somewhere near the Post Office at the corner of Cardinal Lemoine and des Écoles?

Another wonderful post, as always.

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

I am here to echo what everyone else has already written. :) I love the depth with which you research your work, Peter.

To add my own ideas about the post, Saint-Julien-du-Pauvre is probably my favorite church building in all of Paris. I read once somewhere that it was the church which Dante Alighieri attended when he supposedly lived in Paris in the 1300s (which is speculative, it says here in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante_Alighieri#Exile_and_death).

Thank you very much, too, for the link to Paris-Bise-Art. What a great site with a lot of historical information, too! It's helping my French as well. :)

I was hopefully going to get some of my own writing done this morning, but have been having a pleasant time reading here instead and clicking on the various links to know more about Paris, a Roman city. Thank you.

PeterParis said...

Genius-declared, that's something! :-)

You are so faithful and regular... You are excused! :-)

You are really kind! :-)

PeterParis said...

I learn, you learn...! :-)

I alos learnt very recently about the stone, thanks to Paris-bise-art! Next time I will teach you about the arrows! :-)

La Belette Rouge:
I make tours with blogger friends, that's for sure! :-)

PeterParis said...

I learn from others and am happy to transmit! :-)

Je ne sais pas si "professur" est un compliment? :-)

Non, mais je fréquente quelques livres, internet... :-)

PeterParis said...

Well, I just try to keep learning! Thanks for your always kind words! :-)

Je veux des photos des traces de ta punition! :-)

I will try to follow it all the way round! ... and the there the other walls! :-)

PeterParis said...

Another one! :-)

Bagman & Butler:
Thanks! How do you save your blog? Do you know a publisher? :-)

Same questions as above! :()

PeterParis said...

Je vois l'avenir en rose! :-)

Pretty in Paris:
Would also be pleased to meet YOU! :-)

Louis la Vache:
So, the you learnt at least something here! :-)

PeterParis said...


V Rakesh:
Asterix is good reading! :-)

You are perfectly right! :-)

PeterParis said...

You didn't already know? (Of course you did!) :-)

Blogorum Catherina:
To learn latin helps some. (I did four years of it ... and forgot almost all!) :-)

Happy you learnt something! :-)

PeterParis said...

Thanks! :-)

Peter (the other):
Nice to find you commenting here again! Back in Paris soon?
1/ I beleive it was a garbage tip, but haven't been able to confirm since when.
2/ I beleive you are right, but I believe it's underground. Will see if I can visit one day. :-)

Sorry if this delayed your writing, but good if you learnt something! :-)

[G@ttoGiallo] said...

Hi Peter, I've been living in Paris since 1970, but I still don't know Paris as well as you do.
Coming from one of your fans' suggestion, I took a 'little tour' here and yet my feet hurt - you've been... everywhere !

Ruth said...

I will never forget your photo of the Roman wall in the parking ramp.

I remember since being a young girl hearing my mother talk about the Roman Road, such an immensity to last so long.

PeterParis said...

Thanks to you and to may "fan"! :-)

The Romans did a lot of nice things (also)! Too bad so relaively little remains! :-)