France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Roman Sites in Lyon, France
Lyon has been an important city since Gallo-Roman times.




Lyon, formerly known as Lugdunum, shows signs of occupation as far back as the 4th century BCE.

The city of Lugdunum was founded in 43 BCE on the Fourvière Hill (map), atop what is today known as Vieux Lyon. In fact, the name Fourvière comes from the Roman Forum, located on this site. Today the site is home to a large basilica.

Three principal monuments remain of Roman Lyon, two of them on Fourvière Hill.

The large Theater had a capacity of 10,000 spectators. Next to it, the smaller Odéon could seat 3,000. Today, you can wander around both structures, picturing the ancient Gauls and enjoying lovely views of Lyon.

Just next to the theater is the wonderful Musée Gallo-Romain, with many example of Roman sculpture, architecture, mosaics, and other art forms from Lyon and the surrounding area. More...

The third Roman site, the Amphitheater, is on the Croix-Rousse, the other hill of Lyon. The Amphitheater has a long and bloody history, including being where Caligula had his cousin Ptolemy put to death. Although it cannot be visited today, you can observe it from the nearby Rue des Tables Claudiennes.

The Claudian Tablet (tables claudiennes) was discovered in 1528 by a local cloth maker in his vineyard.

These large bronze tablets contain the text of a speech to the Roman Senate by Emperor Claudius in 48 AD. The speech proposed that Gauls with sufficient wealth be eligible for the Roman Senate and other offices. Needless to say, the Gauls were pleased with it. Two large fragments of the tablet can be seen in the Musée Gallo-Romain.

Claudian tablet, Lyon, France

Emperor Claudius was born in Lyon and always favored it. The Claudian Tablet stands as one of the best representations of Roman oratory, though the language is described as somewhat pompous. After all, he was Emperor.

About Lyon

What to See & Do in Lyon

Lyon Tourist Information

Lyon Hotels

Lyon Restaurants

Lyon City Card


Vieux Lyon


Lyon Museums

Lyon Churches

Boat Tours of Lyon



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Roman Theater, Lyon, France

Above, Roman Theater, Lyon, with the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviére in the background.

Below, Roman Mosaic from the Musée Gallo-Romaine.

  Mosaic, Musée Gallo-Romain, Lyon, France      
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