Lutetia's Sewer System


Useful Information

Location: 28 Rue du Sommerard, 75005 Paris.
(48.85048682991425, 2.344064706745059)
Open: All year Tue-Sun 9:30-18:15.
Closed 01-JAN, 01-MAY, 25-DEC.
Sewer Tours: JUL to SEP Wed, Sat 15:30, Sun 14.
[2024]
Fee: Adults EUR 12, Children (0-17) free, EU Citizens (18-26) free, Reduced EUR 10.
Sewer Tours: Adults EUR 15, Children (12-18) EUR 5.
[2024]
Classification: SubterraneaSewage System
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours:  
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge, 6 place Paul Painlevé, 75005 Paris, Tel: +33-1-53-73-78-00. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History


Description

Lutetia's Sewer System is not the Paris Sewer Museum. While the more famous museum is actually located inside the modern sewer system, which was constructed in the 19th century, this is the sewer system which drained the Gallo-Roman city Lutetia some 2,000 years ago. This subterranean structure is a part of the Musée national du Moyen Âge or Musée du Cluny. Located in a mansion, which was built from 1485 by Jacques d'Amboise, abbot of Cluny, hence it was named Hôtel des Abbés de Cluny. The museum is named after the powerful order of Cluny, established in Burgundy, which controlled a large network of abbeys throughout Western Europe. They also operated three academies, located in Paris, Avignon, and Dole, novices studied various topics.

The representative château was built on top of Gallo-Roman ruins, which includes a Roman bath named Thermes de Cluny. In France, the transition from the Bronze Age Celtic world to the Iron Age Roman world is marked by the conquest of Julius Caesar (58-51 BC). We know this quite exactly as he wrote a book about this war named De Bello Gallico (About the French War). At this time the Celtic tribe Parisii lived at the Seine, and when they were defeated by the Roman army in 52 BC, they replaced the destroyed Celtic oppidum with a Greco-Roman city. The ancient baths of Cluny and the Arènes de Lutèce at rue Monge are the last remains of this city. And of course, the sewer system below the Musée du Cluny.

The Roman sewer system for Lutetia was quite different from the modern sewer system, but it was nevertheless very efficient. The hydraulic network below the floor of the Roman baths was intended to bring fresh water to the bath and remove waste water at the same time. But despite being part of the museum, it is not open for self-guided visits. From time to time, the museum organizes guided tours. We have given the open hours for the museum, for the underground tours you must check their website. They have an online reservation system for the tours, but reservations are also possible by phone or email. The tours are typically held on most Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays afternoon, from July to mid-September, but the actual dates are given in their online calendar. the Minimum age is 15 years. As far as we understand, they are offered only in French.

The Roman bath is also part of the museum It has a frigidarium (cold baths) with 15 m high vaults, a tepidarium (warm baths), and a caldarium (hot baths). And there are the palestrae, used for physical exercise. The mosaics which decorated the floors survived partly. The bath was a public bathing facility, similar to modern day sauna or public swimming pools, which was frequented by Romans as well as by Celts. Built around the 1st or 2nd century, and they had a size of 6,000 m². Today the whole structure is part of the museum and may be visited self-guided during open hours.