Roman Theaters of Lyon

The city of Lyon is home to not one, but two ancient Roman theaters--which are sometimes still in use.

Ancient Roman Drama

At the height of its power, the Roman Empire stretched all across the European continent. To the Romans, France was known as Gaul, and in Lyon they chose to build not one, but two theaters. These semi-circular stone auditoriums had–and still have–fantastic acoustics, and actors recited lines from famous playwrights such as Seneca and Ennius. Today, modern visitors to Lyon can strut across the stages themselves.

Theatre’s History Preserved in Stone

The larger of the two theaters dates to the 15th century BC, and is notable for its extremely steep seating. Occasionally full productions still grace the stage of this auditorium. The smaller theater dates to the 2nd century AD, and was used primarily for poetry recitals. Its marble floors are remarkably still intact.

Both of Lyon’s theaters can be found in the Fourvière district, and both are well-preserved. They’re quite close to each other, so it’s easy to visit them in a single day. Public transit makes them easily accessible to visitors.