Arènes de Lutèce
Hidden among the laneways of Paris’ 5th arrondissement is the remains of the Arènes de Lutèce, a Roman amphitheatre and stage built at the beginning of the 2nd century AD. The town of Lutèce (modern-day Paris) underwent major construction during Roman occupation, with the creation of roads, a forum, bathhouses, a theatre and an amphitheatre. The people of Lutetia would have gone to this amphitheatre to watch gladiatorial contests, wild beast games, and plays, with the stage area capable of turning into a theatre. It could seat anywhere between 12,000 and 16,000 spectators.
The amphitheatre was re-discovered in 1860 during the construction of Rue Monge, where it was excavated under the order of Napoleon III. A community effort, led by influential writer Victor Hugo, saw that this piece of Parisian history remained open and maintained (by the newly created Société des Amis des Arenès). Today it is used as a communal park with only fragments of the original structured visible.
Standing in the centre of the arena, the observer has 360 degree views inside the reconstructed amphitheatre. Additional scenes have the viewer in the seating area, much higher than the present-day remains.
Easy to use
All that is needed for this cutting edge VR experience is a smartphone and a VR headset. We recommend purchasing a Google Cardboard, which retails for about $15 USD.
Whether you’re an archaeology student learning about the ancient world, or an intrepid traveller backpacking through modern Paris, this app is the perfect way to get in touch with the ancient world.
Every detail has been approved by a team of professional archaeologists to ensure accuracy. For this reason, the app can be considered not only for entertainment purposes but also as a useful educational tool.
KEY VANTAGE POINTS
In the arena
You are standing in the centre of the arena, surrounded by a 35-row seating area (cavea). To your right is the scene building, built at podium level. Above the seats is an impressive awning that has been adjusted to protect spectators from the harsh sun.
Faced towards the archway, you are now staring into the arena entrance. This would have been the route taken by those being led onto the arena floor. The anticipation for what was to come would have been palpable.
Archway looking out
In this scene, you can appreciate the scale of the arena from ground level. Gaze at the detailed stone work lining the walls and the sand on the arena floor. The shadow from the awing is also visible.