THE ARÈNES DE LUTÈCE
Explore : The Arènes de Lutèce, in the heart of the 5th Arondissement of Paris are situated at 49, Rue Monge, only 2 minutes on foot from St Christophe.
This Gallo-Roman amphitheatre was built in the First Century A.D. It was the setting for a variety of activities including gladiator fights. The stage was enormous, forty meters long and the Arènes could accommodate around fifteen thousand spectators.
The Arènes were still in use in the Second Century A.D. After this date, we have little information until the Sixth Century when Chilpéric had the structure repaired and the savage combats between man and beast were replaced by more conventional amusements.
The Northern side of the Arènes was rediscovered in 1869, but the whole area was not fully restored until fifty years later, in 1918. The “Société des Amis des Arènes” was established in 1883 to protect this archaeological site from the “ Compagnie Général des Omnibus” which had expressed its intention to build garages for the Tramway at this place. The safeguard of the site was largely due to Victor Hugo who encouraged the “Conseil de Paris” to buy the Arènes and to declare them a “Protected Historic Monument”.