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Roman Ruins

Seymour, Connecticut
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78 posts
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Roman Ruins

My wife and I will be vacationing in France for a month from July 12th to August 12th.

Both of us enjoy ancient ruins. If anyone can recommend some Roman, or any ancient ruins from other peoples, I would greatly appreciate it. I know that there are many good Roman ruins in southern France, but we will not be going there. Here is our itinerary:

1. Paris

2. Normandy

3. St. Malo

4. Brittany (we have a central B&B booked)

5. Loire Valley (staying in Langeais)

6. Burgundy (staying just outside of Beaune)

7. Colmar

8. Strasbourg

9. Champagne

10. Paris

Thanks so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated.

Mike

Bellflower...
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1. Re: Roman Ruins

Bonjour, CoachCollins,

The Arenes de Lutece and Cluny Museum in Paris come to mind:

…wikipedia.org/wiki/…A8ce

translate.google.com/translate…

Maybe the troglodytes in the Loire Valley?

www.experienceloire.com/troglodytes.htm

MrsJAS

Val-de-Marne, France
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2. Re: Roman Ruins

There are Roman ruins scattered all over France but the most impressive are in the south of France. In Brittany I would recommend all the neolithic sites: great cairn of Barnenez, Carnac, Locmariacquer... Near St-Malo check the tall menhir of Champ Dolent.

Paris, France
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3. Re: Roman Ruins

While you're in Champagne if you don't mind driving a bit there is a Roman amphitheater in Senlis but it is only open one day a month and visits are guided by the tourist office so you'd need to check with the tourist office. Senlis does have a good portion of its Gallo-Roman ramparts still intact and those are easily seen. However, there is one Roman site that is open air and accessible 24/7 all year long and it's south of Compiègne. It is an amphitheater and behind it are the remains of the baths. It's not as magnificent as the remains in southern France but it's pretty good for northern France. The site is called Champlieu and here is a weblink about it:

http://bethisy.free.fr/champlieu.htm

You can also see photos of it and other nearby worthy attractions in my trip report about exploring that area:

http://tinyurl.com/6snrf3q

England, United...
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4. Re: Roman Ruins

There are not many reasonably-well preserved Roman ruins in the areas you are planning to visit although there are vestiges all over France, as Mrs FM says.

There is a quite an impressive Roman amphitheatre at Lillebonne near Honfleur and Le Havre in Normandy, which was open to visitors in the past but is now closed with works going on to make it safe for public visits, but I doubt that it will be open to the public by the time of your visit.

If you want a break from visiting vineyards/champagne producers during your visit to the Champagne area (and include medieval as 'ancient ruins') I recommend a drive to Coucy-le-Chateau, which has magnificent ruins and the village is very pretty with two ancient gates leading in and out of it. It's also in a scenically nice area. I am not that into Champagne so I found Coucy a very interesting and agreeable place to visit when we toured the area a few years ago. I see from their website (which is only in French) that they are planning some medieval festivals during July:

http://www.coucy.com/

Edited: 03 July 2013, 19:36
Val-de-Marne, France
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5. Re: Roman Ruins

Since you seem to be open to other peoples aside the Romans, I don't know where exactly in the Champagne region you will be but the most wonderful live museum of ancient peoples is in Marles, in the southeastern Picardy region just by the Champagne border. It's the museum of barbarian times. I went to one of their festivals and it is breathtaking and they value historical accuracy. We visited Frankish villages, watched Roman games and horse races, a gladiator fight...

www.museedestempsbarbares.fr/index_eng.html

As for the neolithic sites I was talking about earlier, they are from much older cultures obviously since they are prehistoric. Stonehenge represents the very last stage of the neolithic megalithic structures and western France has the oldest megalithic structures. The great cairn of Barnenez is nearly 7000 years old and is the oldest pyramid-like structure in the world. We recently visited the tumuli of Bougon (another vast neolithic necropolis) which are from the same period but I don't think it will be anywhere near your destinations: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumulus_of_Bougon

London, UK
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6. Re: Roman Ruins

In Burgundy, Autun was an important Roman town and is not too far from Beaune. I suppose a visit to Parc Asterix is not what you have in mind!

Edited: 03 July 2013, 20:35
Seymour, Connecticut
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7. Re: Roman Ruins

Thank you all for your recommendations. They are excellent and I have been looking at all of them.

We are staying at a B&B in Hautvillers called La Chevalee.

Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: Roman Ruins

While you're in Beaune a nice day trip would be the hour or so drive down to Lyon where there's an outstanding Roman museum adjacent to an amphitheater on the hilltop near the Basilica.. Having an interest in that subject we were pleased to see some things there we hadn't seen in other places along with their excellent collection of mosaic floors. And, along with several other things to see in central Lyon, you'll probably be able to find a decent place for dinner in town after the hard day's work.

Toowoomba, Australia
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9. Re: Roman Ruins

I second Autun when you are in Burgundy. It has the remains of an amphitheatre. The drive over is nice too. Keep a look out for the chateau on the right as you come into the small town of Couches. Makes an attractive photo. Depending on how long you will be in Burgundy, you could also drive across to the Jura to places such as Baume les Messieurs and Chateau Chalon. Or drive down to the Maconnais region to places such as Brancion, Chapaize [ wonderful church with the biggest stone pillars I have seen ], St Gengoux le National, Tournus [ lovely cathedral and cloisters ].

If you are looking for something different in Champagne, we enjoyed a walk in the Faux de Verzy , which is a forest of gnarled and misshapen trees. We were there in May as the new leaves were sprouting. It would be stunning in winter with no leaves.

Have a great trip.

Edited: 04 July 2013, 06:32
Seymour, Connecticut
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78 posts
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10. Re: Roman Ruins

I cannot thank all of you enough. You have provided me with exactly what I am looking for.

Thanks so much