Île-de-France & Paris

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Exploring the Past in Île-de-France

The Île-de-France region is made up of those departments that both surround and make up the city of Paris. It has the best of both worlds: all the culture of Paris and a great many châteaux nearby, such as Versailles, as well as wide open spaces, woodland and charming villages. Paris, including the departments of Essone, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines

Map of Archaeology and History Sites and Museums in Île-de-France

Prehistoric sites (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age) are marked with red pins on the map, Gallo-Roman with green pins, Middle Ages with light blue, Early Modern (the Ancien Régime) with pink, Modern (from the French Revolution to the Great War) with purple, 20th Century/Historic with yellow. Museums and theme parks are marked with dark blue pins.

Archaeology & History Sites in Île-de-France

Les Arènes de Lutèce – Paris Amphitheatre

Looking down on to the arena of the Roman amphitheatre in Paris. Although much of the amphitheatre is a recent reconstruction, it is nonetheless an important part of the Roman heritage of Paris. Constructed in the 1st century AD, and seating about 17,000 people, the amphitheatre was used for both theatrical performances as well as gladiatorial combats. The arena was destroyed by Barbarians in 280 AD, and it came to light again in 1860 during building works. A campaign to save and restore the amphitheatre was successfully lead by Victor Hugo; it was reopened as a public square in 1896 … Read More.


Blandy-les-Tours Castle-Fort

The church and walls of Blandy-les-Tours Castle-FortSaid to be one of the most beautiful of its kind, with some rare and unique features, the castle of Blandy is typical of 13th century French feudal fortresses. Later on in its history it became a residence for various members of the aristocracy. In the 17th century it was transformed into a farm, and much of it fell into disrepair. After an extensive period of restoration in the 1990s it was returned to its former glory.


Roman Bathhouse – Thermes de Cluny

Cluny Roman BathsThe Thermes de Cluny are the well preserved remains of what was a massive public bathhouse constructed by the Romans during the 3rd century AD. Given that the ancient buildings have been in use since the Middle Ages the preservation of these ruins is quite spectacular. A number of architectural elements typical of a Roman bathhouse are intact, including the frigidarium with its 14 metre high vaulted ceiling, as well as surviving fragments of original wall paintings and mosaics … Read More.


Luxor Obelisk

Luxor Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde, Paris At the bottom of the Champs Elysées and set in the centre of one of the most well known traffic circles in the World stands an ancient Egyptian obelisk from the Luxor Temple. This obelisk and its pair, that still stands in front of the temple in Luxor, were the largest to have been erected by Ramses II. At a cost of 2.5 million Francs to relocate the ancient object, France could only afford to remove the one … Read More.


Notre Dame Archaeological Crypte

Notre Dame Archaeological CrypteBeneath the Notre Dame Cathedral are the exceptional ruins of Paris’s Roman and Medieval past. Set amongst these exceptionally exhibited ruins are informative displays that tell the history of this popular city, beginning with the Neolithic and Iron Age of the area, including an engaging recreation of the settlement of the Parisii, the Celtic tribe who settled in the area 2,000 years ago and from whom the city takes its name.


Museums in Île-de-France

The Louvre

Three glass pyramids now mark the entrance to the Louvre Museum.The Louvre, with over 35,000 objects, is probably the most famous museum in the world. For archaeo-philes the Louvre has a vast collection of antiquities from France and Mediterranean Europe that date back to Etruscan, Greek and Roman civilisations. From beyond Europe, there are also substantial collections of Egyptian and Near Eastern antiquities, from late prehistory to the start of Christian and Islamic periods.


National Museum of the Middle Ages

Musée National du Moyen Âge The Musée National du Moyen Âge has one of the most important collections of Medieval artefacts in Europe, with a variety of objects from Catalonia to Saxony, England to Sicily. The museum is particularly well known for its collection of tapestries, more specifically the 15th century tapestry cycle called La Dame à la Licorne, often said to be one of the greatest works of art from Medieval Europe.


National Archaeology Museum

Bronze Age gold work in the National Archaeology MuseumThe Musée d’Archéologie Nationale, France’s national archaeology museum, is housed in what was once a royal palace – the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. In the 1860s Napoleon III had the castle restored to house the nation’s archaeology collections. Today, the museum has a vast collection of artefacts from all over the country, from the earliest Palaeolithic to the early Medieval … read more.

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