Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oct 14, Part 11 - Arenes de Lutece (Roman Ruins in Paris)

I'd been seeing this location on the map for years - the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre right in downtown Paris, huddled in there with the schools of science, the natural history museum, the Pantheon, etc., etc., and I'd never seen it. I was excited to find that it was on the walking tour I'd mapped out for this area. We were continuing on up Rue Monge, and the only entrance I knew about was another block away, so I was surprised to come upon this doorway right on Rue Monge at Number 47. You can read a lot about it online. It was built in the first century AD, and discovered again after many centuries in 1858, with the side at this entrance not found until 1869. Below you can see a picture of the structure. This plaque was just to the left of the entrance. Lutece is the old name for Paris, which was, in Latin, Lutetia Parisiorum.

It seems we were entering on the side that used to be the stage. Inside, it was totally different than I'd pictured it all these years. I was thinking ruins, but in fact the arena had been built into a playground where adults and kids were all able to use it for free, and several different types of games were going on at one time. There are a lot of nice photos of this place on the web, and I'll add mine as well. We sat on a bench just inside the entrance, and the photos show the arena from left to right.

The arena was a nice place to take a break. We sat on one of the benches and watched for awhile.

It's a good thing to know where the public bathrooms are when you're travelling. There's one in about the center of the photo up on the grassy area.

Here some people are leaving the arena through the passage on the right in my photos. It exits onto the Rue de Navarre.

In the passage is this plaque about the arena.

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