The Cryptoporticus | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Cryptoporticus

Reims, Grand Est, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Alamy

About The Cryptoporticus

The Cryptoporticus (Le Cryptoportique) of Reims is is a very well preserved third century AD Roman passageway.

The Cryptoporticus history

At the time, Reims was a Gallo-Roman town known as Durocortorum (the original Gallic name Durocorteron meaning “round fortress”). Originally founded around 80 BC by the Remi tribe of Gauls, Reims later became a significant Roman city, with its name Latinized to become Durocortorum. The modern name of Reims, however, clearly harkens back to its original Gallic founders.

Like other structures of this kind, the Cryptoporticus of Reims was a semi-subterranean arched passageway, the roof of which would have been a walkway. It would have been one of three such passageways surrounding the forum of Durocortorum.

A cryptoporticus is, in general terms, an underground vaulted structure, thought to have been used as a passageway or as a cool, subterranean storage area for perishable food stuffs and other items. They also helped to reinforce above-ground structures. Notably, there are only a handful of these Roman architectural gems in the world that are well preserved, making the Reims cryptoporticus a fairly unique destination (see the note at the end of this article for some other examples).

The Cryptoporticus today

The Cryptoporticus of Reims is an excellent example of this type of Roman architecture, particularly as it is so very well preserved. To date, Reims owns one of the five cryptoporticus registered in all the Roman world.

The two updated galleries and a museum space that reminds the history of the excavations and displays various objects discovered on the spot are interesting to visit. The site is free to access.

Getting to The Cryptoporticus

The Cryptoporticus lies right in the middle of the city of Reims. The site’s address is Place de Forum, 51100 Reims.

If travelling via public transport, take either the 1, 5, 8, 10 or 11 bus routes and get out at bus stop ‘Royale’. You can also take a tram (Line A or B stopping at tram stop Langlet).

If you are driving from Paris (rougly 150 kilometres away), take the Northbound A4 to Reims. The trip should take no longer than 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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