Alesia is an archaeological site on Mount Auxois in the Côte-d’Or and the place where Roman emperor Julius Caesar won his decisive victory over the Gauls in 52 BC. By this time, much of southern France was already within the Roman Empire, having been annexed in around the second century BC, but other regions were still holding out.
At Alesia, Caesar met and defeated one of his most formidable adversaries, the Gaulish Chieftain, Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls’ uprising against the Romans. Yet, whilst Caesar was successful, he only won after a long siege, known as the Siege of Alesia.
The remains which have been uncovered in Alesia show that it became a prosperous Gallo-Roman city by the first century AD. Visitors to the Alesia archaeological site can see the ruins of several houses as well as public buildings and areas such as a theatre, a Roman administrative centre (basilica) and shops, all centred on a forum.
Also part of the Alesia site is the statue of Vercingetorix erected under the orders of Napoleon III in 1865, showing how this leader perceived this historic figure.
An impressive interpretative centre and archaeological museum have also recently opened here.
It is worth noting that there have been debates as to whether Alesia is the true site of this battle, with some historians claiming it occurred elsewhere.