Where are the remains of the Roman forum in Paris


The Roman forum in Paris – then known as Lutetia – was situated in the present-day Latin Quarter, more precisely in the vicinity of rue Soufflot and rue Saint-Jacques. Did you know that you could see part of it today? Follow me in the Boul’Mich in the 5th arrondissement of Paris and I’ll tell you where exactly to go to see them…

The Roman forum in Paris

You thought that Paris only dates back to the Middle-Ages? Not quite. In fact, Paris was already there during the Roman era under the name of Lutetia. Unlike major Roman sites in Lyon, Provence or Languedoc there isn’t much left to see in Paris from that period. But if you look closely you’ll find some astonishing remains of that past long gone. The ancient Forum is one of them. The Roman Forum in Paris was the economic and religious centre of Lutetia. The emblem of Roman supremacy in the town that totalled up to 10,000 inhabitants. It comprised a basilica and a temple facing each other and connected by arcaded galleries that sheltered a number of shops. It was an impressive monument, 180 m long by 90 m wide. 

Roman forum in Paris

Roman Forum in Paris

Model of the Lutetia Forum © French Moments

Check out what it looked like on this [French-speaking] video – at 00:55:

From an unremarkable carpark to Lutetia

Head to 61 Boulevard Saint-Michel in the 5th arrondissement. Facing the building is a small staircase leading down to a public carpark. You wouldn’t take it unless you knew you had a rendez-vous with Astérix and the Romans! On the tiled-covered wall of the corridor you’ll find the amazing 2,000 year-old Roman forum in Paris. Well, actually just a little piece of it. What you see behind the protective screen was part of the forum’s external wall.

Roman Forum in Paris

The wall of the Roman Forum in Paris © French Moments

Where to find it the Roman Forum of Paris?

Closest métro stations: Cluny-La Sorbonne (line 10) or Luxembourg (RER B).

Other remains of Roman Paris

There are quite a few remains of the Roman past of Paris. I’ve discovered and photographed most of them but still need to write about these Roman evidences. Here are three Gallo-Romain sites in Paris:

  • The Archealogical Crypt under the square of Notre-Dame (4th arrondissement).
  • The Lutetia Arena (5th arrondissement)
  • The baths at the Cluny museum (5th arrondissement)

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Roman Forum in Paris



About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

1 Comment

  1. Ziggy Hirsch on

    Thanks for the great information on Roman remnants in Paris. Can you tell me when the below ground remains of the Forum were first discovered (and when they were first put on display underground).
    Perhaps you can write an article on the various archaeological discoveries (Roman, medieval,etc.) in Paris, in order of discovery. e.g. Arenes de Lutece-1869, Notre Dame-1960s, Louvre-1984,1991, Institute of France-2015, etc.

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