A little history of Augustus and Livia's temple

The templeThe temple | ©Gordito1869 / CC-BY

Vienne was in Antiquity the capital city of the Allobroges, a Gallic people who lived between Rhône and Isère, and ruled over cities of Grenoble and Geneva (Swiss).

The Gallic was defeated by Romans, then these ones founded the Colonia Julia Vienna Allobrogum: one of the 17 capital cities in Gaul! Vienne was very prosperous, located at a strategical place.

We have here the most well preserved Roman building in Southern France! This one is rectangular, with Corinthian columns: it's 27 metres long and 15 metres wide. We had a vast peristyle on 3 of the 4 faces: we used to reach the house by climbing few stairs.

But, by the way, who were Augustus and Livia? Caesar's adoptive son and his wife Livia!

In the 5th century, monks transformed it into a church, dedicated to Notre-Dame-la-Vieille (Our-Lady-the-Old) then to Notre-Dame-de-la-Vie (Our-Lady-of-the-Life). They walled the wide space between columns.

During the French Revolution, the temple was a place of gathering for Jacobins. These jolly fellows used to celebrate goddess of the Reason... The Court moved here in 1822, then the city of Vienne opened a museum.