Site Archéologique de Glanum

Top choice in Bouches-du-Rhône

It might lack the scale and ambition of some of Provence's better-known Roman monuments, but for a glimpse into everyday life in Gaul, this ancient town has no equal. A Roman colony founded around AD 27, the remains of this once-thriving town have been excavated – complete with baths, forum, columns, marketplace, temples and houses.

Two monuments mark the entrance, 2km south of St-Rémy – a mausoleum (from around 30 BC) and France's oldest triumphal arch, built around AD 20.

The site was first established by Celto-Ligurian people around a sacred spring in the 6th century BC, before later being adopted and heavily redeveloped by the Romans. As you wander up the main street, look out for the remains of the hypocaust system used to heat the baths, and the underground drainage network along the main street. Under the forum, excavations have revealed a gigantic underground well that once supplied the town with its water. As you walk further up the hill, you move into the older part of town, and as you pass the remains of the temple of Heracles, you reach the site of the original holy spring that was first worshipped by the Gauls, and later by the Romans too.

Nearby, a trail leads to the top of a rocky hill with great views over the entire site.

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