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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC


52 BC

The earliest traces of human occupation of Paris date back to the Romans.

The Montagne Sainte Geneviève was the heart of the Roman city.

It was built following a traditional Roman pattern, with two major perpendicular roads, a forum, an amphitheatre, temples, public baths...

Today's streets of rue Soufflot and rue Saint Jacques follow these old Roman roads.

You can still visit the Roman Amphitheatre (Arenes de Lutece) and the Roman Baths (Thermes de Cluny) today - most Parisians don’t even know they exist!

In order to settle in Paris, the Romans first had to conquered the Parisii (who later gave rise to the name Paris).

The Parisii were Gauls - part of a collection of Iron Age tribes settled across France, who mounted a fierce resistance against the Roman invasion - but were defeated in 52 BC.

The Romans took over the Parisii settlement and renamed it Lutetia.