A Preface to Paris: New Clues to the Roman Legacy

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When the French look back today, they generally trace the stirrings of national glory to François I in the mid-16th century or perhaps to Louis XIV 150 years later. And when Parisians look around, they see mainly the city reshaped into broad avenues by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the 19th century.

This week, they were reminded of a far earlier Paris, one that was still called Lutetia. On a Left Bank hillside, which carries the name of Sainte-Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, French archaeologists have found remnants of a road and several houses dating back some 2,000 years to when Rome ruled Gaul.

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