6th century BC – 5th century AD
After the Roman conquest of Gaul the influence of Roman style, itself in the grip of Greek and Byzantine art, would leave traces of classical antiquity in France.
Greek art, from the 6th to the 1st century BC is represented in the South of France by the sites of the ruins at Glanum (Bouches-du-Rhône) or Olbia (Var) and Ensérune (Hérault). The formal detailing of this architectural style is recognizable through the centuries on the pediments and pilasters that still decorate our buildings today.
Gallo-Roman art, associated with the inhabitants of Gaul, is defined as the art of the period from the Roman conquest to the settlement of the Franks, or from 121 BC in the South of France until 476 AD. The style and architecture of Roman times which left their mark on Gaul can be seen at Pont du Gard (Gard), a magnificent Roman aqueduct with three storeys of arches and at the archaeological sites of Ensérune (Hérault), Glanum (Hérault) and Olbia (Var). The Gallo-Roman site of Sanxay (Vienne) has the remains of a number of large buildings: temples, an amphitheatre and baths. The Gallo-Roman villa at Montmaurin (Haute-Garonne) shows the domestic life of a household in the 1st century AD. La Graufesenque (Aveyron) was the centre of production for glazed red terracotta tableware exported throughout the Western Roman Empire. Nîmes (Gard) is a real Roman city with its amphitheatre, the Maison Carrée and the Magne tower.
Byzantine art, in the 4th century AD, originated in the Eastern Roman Empire. It primarily influenced Romanesque church design with its cupolas and the form of its frescoes.