Paris is a city filled with history and no one can say otherwise. The Eiffel Tower takes us back to the contemporary era, its Haussmann architecture is a travel back to the Second Empire, the Louvre is a witness of the Renaissance while the Notre-Dame Cathedral is a one-way ticket to the Middle-Age.
If the most famous monuments in the French capital have lived across centuries, Paris from the Antiquity is much more secret. Yet, it’s one of the oldest treasures in town! C’mon, let’s get on board our DeLorean for a nice travel through time. Spoiler alert: our first stop is obvious:
You’re right, it’s hard to miss it. The jewel of the Place de la Concorde also is the oldest monument in Paris. If it now proudly stands on this legendary square since 1836, it was first to be found in Egypt in the Luxor Temple. But how did it arrive there? Egypt Vice-King Mehemet Ali gave it to king Charles X in 1830. Ordered by pharaoh Ramses II, this obelisk actually dates back from the 13th century B.C. Thanks to this obelisk, the Place de la Concorde is also used as a gigantic sundial and this is not a joke!
It’s true that when we think about the oldest monuments in Paris, it’s not an obelisk that comes to our mind. Antiquity enthusiasts would rather think of Lutetia or Lutèce (Paris’s former name) that dates back to the Gallic-Roman era. By the Latin Quarter, an amphitheater from the 1st century A.D. is a witness of this long-lost era: the Arènes de Lutèce.
Well, the Latin Quarter is very aptly named! In addition to the Arènes de Lutèce, another remains from the Gallic-Roman era can be found there: the Thermes de Cluny. Dating from the late 2nd century A.D., this antique place of life and freshly restored is part of the Musée de Cluny, devoted to the Middle-Age.