Paris houses an extraordinary heritage. Monuments that are still standing despite revolutions and wars, offering a real journey back in time. And also some surprises, like the oldest monument in Paris, that is not Parisian !
Ancient necropolis of the Merovingian kings, Saint-Germain-des-Prés has known numerous destructions. First by the Normans in the late 9th century, then by the revolutionaries, who have turned it into saltpeter factory in 1792.
Despite this, some original features are still visible, like the bell tower, built between 990 and 1014, or the choir, built around 1135, or the flying buttresses (visible from the Boulevard Saint-Germain), built in the 12th century and considered as the oldest in Ile-de-France.
In the Latin Quarter, Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre is considered as the oldest church in Paris, built in the 12th century on the foundations of a 6th century’s church . A very original church, since it has been assigned in 1889 to the Greek Melkite Catholic worship, and blend nowadays medieval architecture with Byzantine rite.
Next to the church, you can also see the oldest tree in Paris.
Thermes de Cluny
Now attached to the Museum of the Middle Ages, the Cluny Baths date from the Gallo-Roman period. An impressive relic built in the late 1st century whose frigidarium, you can visit, is the only room that has retained its original cover.
Arènes de Lutèce
Unique vestige of the Gallo-Roman era in Paris with the Thermes de Cluny, the Arenes de Lutece, built about the 1st century, could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators.
A fabulous heritage discovered during the construction of the Rue Monge in 1869, now a nice and unexpected garden in the heart of Paris.
Obélisque de Louxor
No, the oldest monument in Paris is not Parisian! This is indeed the Obelisk of Luxor, which stands since 1836 in the middle of the Place de la Concorde. Built during the reign of Ramses II, it has been offered to France by the viceroy of Egype Mohammed Ali in 1830. A monument which dates from the thirteenth century before J-C, which remains – by far! – The oldest monument in Paris.