The Roman settlement at Jublains

The modern town of Jublains is built on the site of a major Roman settlement and Gallo-Roman town known as Noviodium (New Town). There are four major ruins that you can see today; the temple, the baths, the amphitheatre and the fortress. These, together with the museum, offer the visitor an insight into the ancient history of the area and its peoples.

Begin with a visit to the museum and start with the introductory video (in English on request). The exhibition as a whole explains the evolution of the Mayenne over time, and shows many artifacts found on the various sites and in the surrounding area. Explanatory texts are in English and German as well as French, and an audio guide is also available. The museum includes a large model of the town as it would have been laid out during Roman times, and you can take a virtual reality tour of the fortress under your own control.

The fortress is alongside the museum and is unique in design in the known Roman empire; it was funded by the Roman administration but appears to have been for storage rather than for military purposes.

Not far up the road is the amphitheatre, donated to the town by a wealthy Gaul named Orgetorix. Excavations have shown that the site held two successive theatres, perhaps to cater for changing tastes in entertainment. Nowadays it is used for music and drama performances during the Summer.

A church was built over the Roman baths, but these been excavated anyway (and the church is no longer in use as such, though the walls remain), and this site in the town centre can be viewed whenever the museum is open.

The site of the temple is a few hundred metres to the North at the edge of the town, and explanatory texts are presented at various positions along the way, again in English, French and German.

Jublains is to the Northwest of Le DOmaine des Hallais. Follow the road to Vaiges, then North-West to Montsurs and then finally North to Jublains. The museum is open throughout the year, all day (9 AM to 6 PM) from May-September. Outside of these dates it is closed on non-holiday Mondays and at lunchtimes, also 25th December and 1st January. There is an admission charge for the museum, this is waived on the first Sunday in the month. The temple and amphitheatre are open to free access; the fortress and baths can be visited only when the museum is open.

Allow a good half day for the visit, perhaps to include a tasty lunch at the créperie beside the baths. (Booking is advisable in Summer.) The site is not far from the lake at Gué de Selle and it would be easy to combine visits to these two places.

3A

The Roman Temple.

3B

A close-up of the temple.

3D

The amphitheatre.

3C

The fortress.

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