Description of the site
This unattended site is open to visitors at any time.
There are no facilities and unfortunately, it is often vandalized. Hunters seem
to find the notice boards good for target practice and the usual quantities of
waste paper build up from time to time. At the last visit (23/2/2001) it had
been completely tidied up so don’t let me put you off; the ruins themselves
are well worth the visit.
If you face west, towards Senlis, the
temple is on the right and the theatre on the left with the baths behind it. The
fields around cover a much larger settlement, probably a trading site on this
main artery. They were discovered during the 19th century and much restoration
work was done by Viollet-Le-Duc, famous, or some would say, infamous for his
tendency to push restoration towards rebuilding. It is a matter of opinion, if
you wish to judge for yourself, the nearby Castle of Pierrefonds, the Arena of
Lutèce (in Paris) or the Basilica at Vézelay (Burgundy) are amongst his many
well known achievements.
There are old textual references to a city surrounded by a wall with towers and some old guidebooks talk of a basilica but there is no existing evidence of the latter. Gregory of Tours mentions the site during the Merovingian period and a medieval graveyard has been excavated to the South East (the fields are named “Les Tombes” on the IGN map). During the Great War the area was a military site and famous for the development and testing of the first tanks. An internet search for “Champlieu” throws up several links for those interested.