The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

2 weeks ago


  • Text
  • History
  • Culture
  • French life
  • Paris
  • Free magazine
  • French culture
  • French food
  • Recipes
  • France
  • Provence
Packed with fabulous features and fantastic photos, inspiring, entertaining and informative guides, mouth-watering recipes from top chefs, history, culture and much much more. Discover Belle Epoque Paris, picturesque Provence, and captivating Cassis. Fabulous destinations in the north and the south of France, what's on, what's new and what to cook for a taste of France! Bringing France to you - wherever you are.

Notre-Dame before the

Notre-Dame before the fire From Lutetia to Paris The Roman ruins beneath the Cathedral of Notre Dame Christina Mackenzie explores the ground beneath Paris to discover the city’s ancient past Few people walking on the square in front of Notre Dame are aware that right beneath their feet lie the ancient remains of the city – in Europe’s biggest archaeological crypt. The entrance is down a discreet staircase in the northwest corner of the square. You might think it leads to the car park! Look for a pillar with “Crypte du Parvis” engraved on it. The cool air, dim light and quiet ambiance are a strong contrast to the generally busy square that lures tourists to witness one of the most beautiful churches ever built. But in this museum, you’re unlikely to have to jostle. There were just 125,000 visitors in 2022, an average of around 400 a day, possibly because it’s confusingly called the “Crypte”, which one generally associates with a stone chamber under a church which contains religious relics. The museum’s official name is the Crypte archéologique de l’île de la Cité… perhaps it would draw more visitors if it were just simply called the “Musée archéologique de Paris”! The ancient vestiges, hidden for centuries under the square, were discovered by accident in 1964 during excavations during works to build an underground carpark. When it became clear that these archaeological remains from the Romans to the 19th century provided a unique timeline to understanding the city’s urban and archaeological development, plans for the carpark were modified and archaeological excavation continued for a further eight years. Once you’ve paid your entrance fee and your eyes have adjusted to the quiet light, you’ll walk along raised pathways, looking down on 2,000 years of history. Tactile, animated displays, in French and English, help visitors understand what it is they’re looking at. Right in the centre are the remains of the bath house where inhabitants of the Gallo-Roman town of Lutetia, as Paris was known then (meaning ‘place near a swamp’), could come and relax, catch up on the latest news and exchange gossip. Today’s visitors can follow the same path the bathers would have taken. You can see the remains of the changing room with its bench still intact. Somebody lost some of their coins in this changing room. As coins were only used for about 20 years, archaeologists assume that this money, found between two paving stones in 2012, gives an accurate indication of when these baths were last used: at the end of 4AD or in early 5AD. The baths had underfloor heating (who thought this was a modern invention?) and you can see the small columns of stones that held the floor up so the heat could spread underneath. You go through the cold room, the hot room, the sauna, then back through the cold room. The oldest vestiges visible are those of the city’s very first port, built at the beginning of 1AD just after the Romans colonised the Gaullish settlement. Obviously the Romans 46 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 47

Copied successfully!