Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Visit Ancient Rome… In The South Of France!


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Filippa Zamarripa



When you think of ancient Rome, your mind may immediately conjure up images of the majestic Colosseum, the iconic Roman Forum, or the impressive remains of the Roman Empire in Italy. However, did you know that you can also experience the magnificence of ancient Rome in the south of France? Yes, that’s right! This beautiful region is not only known for its stunning landscapes and exquisite cuisine but is also home to a wealth of Roman ruins and historical sites that transport you back in time to the height of the Roman Empire.


The Romans first settled in what is now modern-day France in the 2nd century BC, and their influence can still be felt across the region today. From grand amphitheaters and impressive aqueducts to well-preserved theaters and ancient villas, there is truly something for every history enthusiast and culture lover.


By visiting these Roman ruins in the south of France, you can not only marvel at the architectural feats of the Romans but also gain a deeper understanding of their way of life, their art, and their enduring impact on the region’s culture and heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone looking for a unique and enriching experience, exploring the ancient Roman sites in the south of France is sure to leave you in awe.


In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of some of the most remarkable Roman ruins in the south of France. From the Roman city of Nîmes to the charming town of Arles, and from the breathtaking Pont du Gard to the stunning Roman theater in Orange, get ready to embark on a journey through time as we uncover the fascinating history and remnants of ancient Rome in this enchanting region.


History of Ancient Rome in the South of France

The history of ancient Rome in the south of France can be traced back to the 2nd century BC when the Romans established colonies and settlements in the region. The Roman Empire, known for its vast territorial expansion and architectural achievements, left an indelible mark on the area, shaping its culture, infrastructure, and urban landscape.


During this period, the Romans constructed a network of roads connecting key cities and established thriving trade routes, which facilitated the growth of commerce and economy. This infrastructure development not only allowed for the efficient movement of goods and people but also played a crucial role in consolidating Roman control over the region.


The Roman presence in the south of France was further reinforced with the establishment of Roman colonies, such as Narbonne, Nîmes, and Arles. These cities served as administrative centers and displayed the architectural prowess of the Romans, boasting grand public buildings, temples, amphitheaters, and aqueducts.


The influence of Roman culture extended beyond architecture and infrastructure. The Romans introduced their language, Latin, which formed the basis of the Romance languages spoken in the region today. The Roman legal system, governance, and social norms also shaped the foundation of the local society.


However, the decline of the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries AD led to the gradual decline of Roman influence in the south of France. The region saw invasions by various groups, including Visigoths, Burgundians, and Franks, which resulted in the disintegration of Roman administration and the adoption of new cultural and political dynamics.


Despite this decline, the remnants of ancient Rome remained etched in the landscape of the south of France. The Roman ruins that still stand today serve as a testament to the rich history and architectural splendor of the Roman Empire in the region.


In the following sections, we will delve into some of these remarkable Roman ruins, allowing you to explore and appreciate the legacy left behind by ancient Rome in the south of France.


Roman Ruins in the South of France

The south of France is a treasure trove of ancient Roman ruins, where visitors can witness the grandeur and architectural brilliance of the Roman Empire. From majestic amphitheaters to well-preserved aqueducts, these ruins offer a glimpse into the past and provide a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in ancient history.


One of the most impressive Roman ruins in the south of France is the Pont du Gard, an iconic aqueduct located near the town of Remoulins. This magnificent structure, built in the 1st century AD, stretches across the Gardon River and stands as a testament to Roman engineering and design. Its towering arches and impeccable construction have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit for history enthusiasts.


Nîmes, often referred to as the Rome of France, is another city that proudly showcases its Roman heritage. The city’s most famous attraction is the Arena of Nîmes, a remarkably well-preserved amphitheater that once hosted gladiator fights and other spectacles. Visitors can step back in time and imagine the roaring crowds and intense competitions that took place within these ancient walls.


Arles, a charming town in Provence, is also steeped in Roman history. The Roman Theater of Arles, dating back to the 1st century BC, is an impressive structure that could seat around 10,000 spectators. The theater is still in use today, hosting various performances and events, and serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of Roman culture.


Another noteworthy site is the Triumphal Arch of Orange, located in the city of Orange. This well-preserved arch stands as a symbol of the Roman Empire’s strength and victory. Its intricate carvings and detailed reliefs depict various military campaigns and serve as a visual narrative of Roman history.


Additionally, the town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, nestled in the heart of the Alpilles mountains, boasts a unique Roman site known as the Maison Carree. This immaculately preserved Roman villa offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Roman elite, with its beautifully adorned frescoes and well-preserved architectural features.


These are just a few examples of the remarkable Roman ruins scattered throughout the south of France. Each site offers a unique experience and provides fascinating insights into the remarkable achievements of the ancient Romans. Whether it’s exploring the monumental Pont du Gard, marveling at the grandeur of the Arena of Nîmes, or immersing oneself in the rich history of Arles and Orange, a visit to these Roman ruins is an enriching journey through time.


Nîmes: The Rome of France

Located in the beautiful region of Occitanie, Nîmes is often referred to as the Rome of France due to its rich Roman heritage. This vibrant city boasts a plethora of Roman ruins that transport visitors back in time to the glory days of the Roman Empire.


One of the most iconic landmarks in Nîmes is the Arena of Nîmes, also known as the Nîmes Amphitheatre. This well-preserved amphitheater, dating back to the 1st century AD, is a testimony to the grandeur and scale of Roman architecture. With a seating capacity of around 24,000 spectators, the Arena was once used for gladiator fights, chariot races, and other public spectacles. Today, it serves as a venue for concerts, shows, and cultural events, allowing visitors to experience the vibrancy of the past in a modern setting.


Another remarkable Roman structure in Nîmes is the Maison Carrée, a beautifully preserved Roman temple that dates back to the 1st century BC. This stunning example of Roman architecture is known for its perfectly proportioned façade and magnificent Corinthian columns. Now serving as a museum, the Maison Carrée offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history of Nîmes and witness the grandeur of this ancient temple.


In addition to these prominent sites, Nîmes is also home to the Magne Tower, which is part of the original Roman fortifications of the city. Climbing to the top of the tower rewards visitors with panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside, while also providing a glimpse into the city’s Roman history.


Nîmes is not only a city of ancient Roman ruins but also a testament to the ongoing influence of Roman culture. Every year, the city celebrates the Nîmes Roman Games, where visitors can witness chariot races and gladiator reenactments, immersing themselves in the atmosphere of ancient Rome.


While exploring Nîmes, visitors can also enjoy the charming city center, filled with picturesque squares, elegant boulevards, and beautiful gardens. The Jardins de la Fontaine, adjacent to the Maison Carrée, is a peaceful oasis of Roman ruins, statues, and fountains, perfect for a leisurely stroll and a moment of relaxation.


Nîmes is a city that proudly preserves and showcases its Roman heritage, allowing visitors to delve into the history of ancient Rome while experiencing the vibrant culture of modern-day France. With its impressive Roman ruins, lively events, and picturesque surroundings, Nîmes truly earns its title as the Rome of France and offers an unforgettable journey back in time.


Arles: A Glimpse into Ancient Roman Life

Located in the beautiful Provence region of southern France, Arles is a city that provides a captivating glimpse into ancient Roman life. With its well-preserved Roman ruins and a rich cultural heritage, Arles offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the legacy of the Roman Empire.


At the heart of Arles lies the Roman Theater of Arles, an impressive structure that dates back to the 1st century BC. This ancient theater, capable of seating around 10,000 spectators, once hosted grand performances of tragedy and comedy. Today, visitors can explore the tiers of seating, marvel at the remaining stage and backstage structures, and imagine the vibrant theatrical experience of ancient Rome.


Adjacent to the Roman Theater is the Amphitheater of Arles, also known as the Arles Arena. This well-preserved amphitheater is one of the largest in the Roman Empire and could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. The arena was the stage for gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, and public spectacles, which were an integral part of Roman entertainment. Visitors can walk through the underground passages, stand on the arena floor, and get a sense of the immense scale of these ancient events.


Arles is also renowned for its exceptional Roman baths, known as the Baths of Constantine. These thermal baths, built in the 4th century AD, were once an important social and recreational hub for the Roman citizens. Today, visitors can explore the various rooms, including the frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room), and caldarium (hot room), and gain insights into the ancient Roman concept of leisure and well-being.


Another highlight of Arles’ Roman heritage is the Cryptoporticus, an underground gallery built in the 1st century AD. Originally serving as a covered walkway and storage area, the Cryptoporticus features a series of interconnected vaulted chambers. Visitors can wander through this fascinating underground structure, admiring its architectural details and appreciating the engineering marvel that it represents.


Aside from the ruins, Arles is also famous for its association with the renowned artist Vincent van Gogh. The city’s vibrant colors and picturesque landscapes inspired many of his paintings. Visitors can follow in the artist’s footsteps by visiting the Van Gogh Foundation and exploring the sites that he immortalized in his artworks, such as the iconic Yellow House and the beautiful Rhône River.


With its well-preserved Roman ruins, artistic heritage, and picturesque surroundings, Arles offers a truly immersive experience into ancient Roman life. From stepping into the ancient theaters to wandering through underground galleries, visitors to Arles can gain a deeper appreciation for the grandeur, complexity, and cultural significance of the Roman Empire.


Pont du Gard: Incredible Roman Aqueduct

One of the most awe-inspiring Roman ruins in the south of France is the Pont du Gard, an incredible aqueduct that spans the Gardon River near the town of Remoulins. This remarkable structure stands as a testament to Roman engineering and ingenuity, showcasing the mastery of the ancient Romans in constructing monumental works of infrastructure.


Constructed in the 1st century AD, the Pont du Gard served as an essential part of the Nîmes aqueduct, which transported water over 30 miles to supply the ancient city of Nîmes. The aqueduct system was a marvel of engineering, utilizing a series of arches and elevated channels to transport water across the varied terrain of the Aquitaine Basin.


The Pont du Gard itself is an architectural feat, consisting of three tiers of perfectly stacked arches that reach a height of 160 feet. The precision and stability of its construction are truly remarkable, especially considering that it was built without the use of modern tools and machinery.


What makes the Pont du Gard even more extraordinary is the fact that it has stood the test of time for over 2,000 years. Despite being subjected to natural elements and human activity, the aqueduct has maintained its structural integrity and remains a stunning example of Roman engineering prowess.


Today, visitors to Pont du Gard can marvel at the sheer grandeur of the structure and learn about its historical significance at the onsite museum. The museum offers interactive exhibits and displays that provide insights into the construction techniques employed by the Romans and the importance of the aqueduct system in ancient society.


Surrounding the Pont du Gard is a picturesque natural landscape, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities such as hiking and picnicking. Visitors can explore the trails that meander along the river and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding countryside.


Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pont du Gard is not only an architectural marvel but also a symbol of cultural and historical significance. It serves as a reminder of the advanced engineering skills and innovation of the ancient Romans, leaving visitors in awe of their achievements.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply someone seeking to appreciate the wonders of the ancient world, a visit to the Pont du Gard is a must. Standing in the shadow of this incredible Roman aqueduct, you can’t help but be amazed by the ingenuity and legacy of the Roman Empire.


Orange: The Roman Theater Experience

Located in the charming town of Orange, the Roman Theater of Orange offers visitors a truly immersive Roman theater experience. This exceptionally well-preserved theater, dating back to the 1st century AD, stands as a testament to the grandeur and artistic sophistication of the Roman Empire.


The theater, with its massive stage wall and tiered seating, was designed to accommodate up to 9,000 spectators. It was a venue for various performances, including plays, musicals, and even gladiatorial contests. Today, visitors can witness the ancient grandeur of this theater by attending live concerts and theatrical productions held within its historic walls.


What makes the Roman Theater of Orange even more remarkable is its exceptional acoustic quality. The architectural design and construction of the theater create an acoustic phenomenon where sound carries naturally throughout the space, even to the highest seating tiers. This acoustic marvel allows for a truly immersive and captivating experience for both performers and audience members.


Adjacent to the theater is the Triumphal Arch of Orange, another astonishing Roman structure. This intricately decorated arch commemorates the victories of the Roman army and displays detailed reliefs depicting scenes of military campaigns and triumphal processions. The arch serves as a visual testimony to the power and glory of ancient Rome.


Visiting the Roman Theater of Orange is more than just an opportunity to witness ancient architecture; it is a chance to connect with the past and experience the rich cultural heritage of the region. The theater sits in the heart of the town, surrounded by charming cafes, shops, and historical landmarks, creating a vibrant atmosphere that reflects the town’s Roman and medieval heritage.


For those seeking a deeper understanding of the theater’s history, the nearby Orange Museum provides insight into the Roman era through its archaeological exhibits and multimedia presentations. Visitors can learn about the construction techniques, the lives of the performers and spectators, and the significance of theater in ancient Roman society.


A visit to Orange is incomplete without experiencing the grandeur of the Roman Theater. Whether attending a performance or simply wandering through the ancient terraces, visitors are transported back in time to an era of theatrical excellence and artistic expression. The Roman Theater of Orange is a true gem that combines architectural marvel, historical significance, and cultural vitality, making it a must-see destination for anyone interested in the wonders of ancient Rome.


Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: Exploring Roman Influences

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a charming town nestled in the picturesque region of Provence, offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the Roman influences that have shaped the area’s history and culture. From archaeological sites to ancient monuments, this town offers a fascinating glimpse into its Roman past.


One of the standout attractions in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is the archaeological site of Glanum. This well-preserved Roman city, dating back to the 2nd century BC, showcases the urban planning and architectural brilliance of the Romans. Visitors can wander through the ancient streets, admire the remains of temples and monuments, and gain insight into the daily life of a Roman settlement.


Within the Glanum site, the Triumphal Arch of Glanum stands as a testament to the military victories and grandeur of the Roman Empire. This magnificent arch, adorned with intricate carvings and reliefs, serves as a reminder of the power and influence that Rome wielded during its heyday.


Another notable site in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is the Mausoleum of Glanum. This Roman funerary monument offers a glimpse into the Roman practices of honoring the deceased. With its well-preserved sculptural details and architectural features, the mausoleum provides a poignant reminder of the cultural and artistic achievements of ancient Rome.


Aside from the archaeological sites, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is also famous for its Roman-influenced architecture and urban layout. The town’s central square, Place de la République, boasts elegant buildings lined with charming cafes, just like the Roman forums of old. Walking through the narrow streets, visitors can catch glimpses of Roman-inspired architectural details, including arches, columns, and courtyards, creating a sense of timeless beauty.


For those interested in exploring more of the region’s Roman history, the nearby site of Les Antiques is worth a visit. This site features a well-preserved Roman arch known as the Arch of St. Remy, as well as the remains of the Mausoleum of the Julii, a remarkable funerary monument that showcases intricate sculptural reliefs.


Saint-Rémy-de-Provence not only offers a rich historical experience but is also an ideal base for exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding area. From the rolling hills of the Alpilles to the fragrant lavender fields and olive groves, the landscapes that enchanted the Romans still captivate visitors today.


With its remarkable archaeological sites, Roman-influenced architecture, and stunning natural surroundings, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is the perfect destination for those seeking to delve into the Roman influences that have shaped the region’s unique identity. It is a place where the past seamlessly blends with the present, providing a captivating journey through time and culture.



The south of France offers a captivating journey through the remnants of ancient Rome, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur and influence of the Roman Empire outside of Italy. From well-preserved amphitheaters and imposing aqueducts to majestic theaters and fascinating archaeological sites, there is no shortage of Roman ruins to explore in this enchanting region.


Cities like Nîmes, Arles, and Orange proudly display their Roman heritage, with iconic landmarks such as the Arena of Nîmes, the Roman Theater of Arles, and the Triumphal Arch of Orange. These magnificent structures transport visitors back in time, enabling them to witness the architectural marvels and cultural significance of ancient Rome.


The Pont du Gard, an incredible aqueduct spanning the Gardon River, remains an awe-inspiring testament to Roman engineering prowess. Its towering arches and remarkable preservation draw visitors from around the world to admire its majesty and learn about the Romans’ innovative water supply systems.


Saint-Rémy-de-Provence offers a unique opportunity to delve into Roman influences through its archaeological sites like Glanum and Les Antiques, as well as its Roman-inspired architecture. The town’s ancient streets and charming squares reveal a rich and continuous Roman legacy that has influenced the region’s character for centuries.


Exploring the ancient Roman sites in the south of France provides not only an educational experience but also a chance to appreciate the enduring impact of Roman culture on the region. From the language and legal systems to the architectural achievements and social norms, the legacy of ancient Rome is still woven into the fabric of present-day Southern France.


Embarking on a journey through the ancient Roman sites of the south of France offers a fascinating window into history, allowing us to appreciate the artistry, innovation, and grandeur of one of the greatest civilizations. The region’s well-preserved ruins, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Roman Empire’s enduring influence.


So, whether you’re exploring the magnificent Roman Theater of Orange, marveling at the Pont du Gard’s striking beauty, or getting lost in the quaint streets of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, prepare to be captivated by the remarkable history and timeless elegance of ancient Rome in the south of France.