Autun, in the Saone et Loire department, was founded by Roman settlers as Augustodunum at the end of the first century AD to rival the local Gaullish town of Bibracte.


The idea was to show the Gauls what they could hope to gain by allowing Roman rule, so Autun was built rather more lavishly than would have been normal for such a remote outpost - 6 kilometres of ramparts, four huge arched gateways, and a theatre that, with a capacity for 20,000 spectators, was one of the largest in France. Although it was used as a source for stone for other constructions in the area, particularly the nearby military academy, it is now undergoing restoration.

The town still has various Roman remains, as well as a superb medieval old town.

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