The Very Best Roman Sites in France

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There's a host of top Roman Sites in France to visit and among the very best are La Maison Carrée, Carcassonne and Horreum. Other popular sites tend to include the Lapidaire Museum, Narbonne Archaeological Museum and the Arch of Germanicus.

For those seeking to explore further, there’s a wealth of Roman sites, ruins and remains in France and a great number of interesting historic sites to visit. From ancient amphitheatres to aqueducts, temples, forums and more, France is full of interesting Roman ruins. 

We’ve put together a selection of Roman ruins in France below as well as our top picks, which include some of the most interesting and captivating Roman sites in France. We've also put together a list of other key Roman remains that are worth a look as well as a number of excellent museum's which deal with Roman-era France.

What are the best Roman Sites in France?

1. La Maison Carrée

La Maison Carrée is an extremely well preserved Roman temple in Nîmes. It is one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world. It managed to survive the turbulant times that followed the fall of the Roman Empire as it was converted to a church. For those interested in seeing Roman sites and remains in France, La Maison Carrée is a must.

Through the ages La Maison Carrée has been used as a consul's house, stables and the town’s archive. It has been partly renovated and restored over the years, but remains true to its Roman origins and is certainly not a recreation. Visitors can view this stunning structure in all its glory as well as watching a multimedia presentation inside the building which brings Roman Nîmes back to life.

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2. Nimes Arena

Nimes Arena also known as Nimes Amphitheatre, is amongst the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. Built during the reign of the Emperor Augustus in the first century AD, the arena is a marvel of Roman engineering. A vast oval with a stunning façade resplendent with archways and ornamentation, Nimes Arena could seat up to 24,000 people in its 34 terraces. 

Now fully restored, Nimes Arena is a popular tourist attraction and allows people to really experience what it would have been like for Roman spectators. Including an interactive audio guide and some detailed exhibits, the site is now a fitting museum of its past. However, beyond just its historic significance, Nimes Arena is also still used for events today.

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3. Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard is an iconic Ancient Roman bridge and aqueduct built in first century AD. In fact, it was the tallest bridge ever built by the Romans, rising 160 feet.

Today guided tours of Pont du Gard take visitors right to the very heart of this iconic structure to see the how such an engineering feat was achieved and how the aqueduct operated. Visitors can also walk the full length of the bridge itself and explore this Roman marvel up close. These tours last approximately 1.5 hours.

There is also a Pont du Gard museum on site that explores the engineering techniques used by the Romans to build the bridge as well as the history of the area in which it is built, which actually stretches back to prehistoric times.

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4. Arles Amphitheatre

Arles Amphitheatre is a brilliantly preserved Roman site in France which was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. The amphitheatre could hold over 20,000 people and survived exceptionally well through the ages. This UNESCO listed Roman-built sports arena is still in use today. One of the best Roman sites in France.

Its excellent state of preservation means that it is even still used today, not for chariot races, but for bullfighting. This excellent state of conservation is in spite the fact that it was used as a medieval fortification. Arles Amphitheatre is now one of the town’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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5. Grand Roman Theatre of Lyon

The Roman Theatre of Lyonwas constructed in approximately 15BC and was able to seat up to around 10,000 people. Having been well restored in the early twentieth century, the theatre is one of the oldest structures of its kind and a reminder of Lugdunum, the Gallo-Roman city which would become Lyon. The site was generally abandoned by the third century AD. Behind the theatre are further ruins, possibly the remains of the Temple of Cybele.

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6. Crypte Archeologique - Paris

The Crypte Archeologique is a subterranean Roman site and museum housing the remains of Gallo-Roman Paris. It contains ruins including the city's third century BC walls, its streets and heating systems and even the ruins of a cathedral. Some of the remains are medieval, dating to the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries and including a hospital. One of the lesser-know Roman sites in France but a great site to visit.

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7. Roman Theatre of Orange

The Roman Theatre of Orange is a stunningly well-preserved first century theatre and one of the best preserved Roman sites in the world. The façade wall of the theatre is an impressive 338 feet long and 121 feet high and the structure still retains its original stage. This is despite the fact that the Prince of Orange, Maurice of Nassau, damaged it in the seventeenth century by using it as a quarry for building materials.

Today, the theatre is a UNESCO World Heritage historic site together with the Triumphal Arch of Orange. It is still used as a theatre, meaning that visitors can enjoy a play in its incredible and historically evocative surroundings. There are also audio guides included in the entry prices (seven languages) and guided tours are offered.

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8. Glanum

Glanum is an extensive archaeological site of a former Roman settlement near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The site itself is thought to pre-date the coming of the Romans, though most of the remains that you can see today are Roman ruins from the first and second centuries AD. While Glanum is slightly lesser-known amongst the Roman sites in France, it is well worth a visit.

The site has both residential and monumental sections. Public baths and dwellings can be seen in the north of site with several ancient columns dotted around the area. However, it is two of its ancient monuments which form the star attractions at Glanum, namely its archway and its mausoleum known together as “Les Antiques”.

The arch is a well-preserved triumphal arch thought by some to have been constructed during the reign of the Emperor Augustus. It depicts the Roman victory over Gaul. Meanwhile the Mausoleum of Glanus, known as Mausolée des Jules and thought to date back to as early as 30 BC, is a remarkable 18 metre-high private family memorial resplendent with friezes and columns.

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9. The Cryptoporticus

The Cryptoporticus of Reims is is a very well preserved third century AD Roman passageway. At the time, Reims was a Gallo-Roman town known as Durocortorum. Like other structures of this kind, the Cryptoporticus of Reims was a semi-subterranean arched passageway, the roof of which would have been a walkway. It would have been one of three such passageways surrounding the forum of Durocortorum.

The Cryptoporticus of Reims is an excellent example of this type of Roman architecture, particularly as it is so very well preserved.

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10. Horreum

The Horreum in Narbonne, France dated back to the first century BC and are a network of subterranean tunnel and passageways which were thought to have been used as storage rooms during the Roman era.

These unique underground tunnels would once have formed part of the city of Narbo Martius, which was the capital of the Narbonne region during Roman times.

It is believed these tunnels were used as the storage area for the local market and today the site boasts a sound and light show which is designed to replicate the atmosphere of such an ancient marketplace.

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Full list of Roman Sites in France

Beyond the most famous Ancient Roman ruins in France, there’s many similar places to visit, including Roman Amphitheatre - Saintes, Pont du Gard and Musee du Louvre to name but a few. We’re constantly expanding this list of Roman Sites in France and you can view the current selection below.

Alesia

Alesia was the site where Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls in 52 BC.

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Ambrussum

Ambrussum contains the ruins of an Iron Age settlement, a Roman staging post and the remains of the nearby Roman bridge

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Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was a first century Roman amphitheatre in Lyon.

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Arch of Germanicus

The Arch of Germanicus is a Roman arch constructed in 19AD to honour Emperor Tiberius, his son Drusus and his adopted son Germanicus.

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Arenes de Lutece

Arenes de Lutece was an ancient Roman amphitheatre, the remains of which stand in Paris.

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Arles Archaeological Museum

The Arles Archaeological Museum houses an extensive collection of prehistoric and Ancient Roman artefacts.

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Arles Roman Theatre

Arles Roman Theatre was constructed during the reign of the Emperor Augustus.

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Barbegal Aqueduct and Mill

The fascinating Roman site at Barbegal contains the ruins of an ancient water-mill and gives crucial insight into Roman use of water-powered engineering.

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Bordeaux Amphitheatre

These spectacular ruins are all that remain of what was once a grand amphitheatre; the centre of entertainment in a bustling Roman town.

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Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a UNESCO listed fortified town in France with a history dating back to before the Roman era.

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Cimiez Roman Ruins

The Cimiez Roman Ruins are remnants of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum.

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Constantine Baths - Arles

The Constantine Baths in Arles are a set of well preserved Roman public baths built in the fourth century.

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Jardin des Vestiges

The Jardin des Vestiges is an archaeological site in Marseilles with ancient Greek and Roman remains.

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Lapidaire Museum

Lapidaire Museum is a museum of Ancient Roman artefacts in Narbonne, France.

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Les Alyscamps - Arles

Les Alyscamps was a Roman necropolis which now houses a collection of crowded medieval sarcophagi.

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Lyon Cathedral

Lyon Cathedral was constructed between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries and has a famous astronomical clock.

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Lyon Gallo-Roman Museum

The Lyon Gallo-Roman Museum displays exhibits relating to the city’s time under the Roman Empire.

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Lyon Roman Baths

The Lyon Roman Baths are the remains of a second or third century public baths complex.

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Marseille History Museum

The Marseille History Museum chronicles the city’s history including artefacts from ancient Greek and Roman times.

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Marseille Roman Docks Museum

The Roman Docks Museum has a collection of artefacts from Marseille’s thriving ancient port.

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Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny houses Ancient Roman baths and the national medieval museum in Paris.

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Musee du Louvre

Musee du Louvre is a twelfth century fort turned palace and today stands as one of the world’s foremost art museums.

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Museum of Orange

The Museum of Orange is a museum of mostly Roman, but also prehistoric, artefacts found in the region.

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Narbonne Archaeological Museum

The Narbonne Archaeological Museum displays Ancient Roman artefacts including everything from sarcophagi to frescos and furniture.

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Nice-Cimiez Archaeological Museum

The Nice-Cimiez Archaeological Museum houses artefacts from the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum.

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Odeon of Lyon

The Odeon of Lyon is a well-restored Ancient Roman theatre and part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Porte de Mars

Porte de Mars is an ornate third century Roman arch in Reims.

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Roman Amphitheatre - Saintes

The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes was built in around 40AD in the Roman settlement of Mediolanum Santonum.

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Roman Pyramid of Vienne

The Roman Pyramid of Vienne is a monument which would once have formed the centrepiece of Vienne’s Roman Circus.

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Temple de Mercure

The ruins of a temple built atop a mountain called Puy de Dome outside the Gallic city of Augustonemetum (now Clermont-Ferrand).

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Temple of Augustus and Livia

The Temple of Augustus and Livia is a very well preserved <a href="https://www.triphistoric.com/explore/articles/roman-temples-the-ultimate-guide">Roman temple</a> in Vienne.

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Temple of Diana - Nimes

The Temple of Diana is a Roman site in Nimes whose ultimate purpose remains a mystery.

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The Gier Aqueduct

The Gier Aqueduct near Lyon served its Roman counterpart, Lugdunum.

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The Lyon Gallo-Roman Tombs

The Lyon Gallo-Roman Tombs are a trio of reconstructed first century burial chambers.

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The Magne Tower

The Magne Tower in Nimes is a well preserved Roman tower built under the Emperor Augustus.

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Triumphal Arch of Orange

The Triumphal Arch of Orange is a first century Roman arch built during the reign of Augustus.

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Tropaeum Alpium

The Tropaeum Alpium, also known as Trophee des Alpes or the Trophy of Augustus, is a Roman monument dedicated to the Emperor Augustus.

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Vienne Roman Theatre

Vienne Roman Theatre is a first century theatre said to have once been amongst the largest in Gaul.

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Our database of Roman Sites in France is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. So, if you know of other Ancient Roman ruins in France, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by contacting us today.