The arch and pillars still standing, Porte d’Orée is adorned with its finest shades of sandstone that lightens and darkens in rhythm with the sun, coexisting with brick, the Roman’s favourite building material. Unique testimony of the presence of ancient baths in Fréjus, its misleading name does not make it a door, even less a gilded one, but one of the arches in the large cold bath room.
- Ochre colours
- Well preserved
Porte d'Orée: history
The Porte d’Orée was formerly written “Porte Dorée” because Abbé Girardin (1678-1753), a historian, found gold-headed nails at the foot of the monument. He deduced that these nails could correspond to the copper tenons used to fix marble plating on the monument.
Listed as a Historical Monument in 1886, it is located in the northwest of the Roman port.
It is the only standing part of a vast Roman thermal establishment. This monumental vestige corresponds to the arch to the cold room (frigidarium) of the baths. It was long interpreted as the monumental southern gate, on the edge of the city, hence the different spellings.
Very fond of pools and fountains, throughout the Empire the Romans frequented the baths for reasons of hygiene but also as popular gathering places where they could meet and talk.
This ensemble ranks among the most important thermal establishments known to date in the Narbonne area. Its situation suggests that it was the baths for the port, probably the gift of an emperor.
A fragment of monumental female statue and a Jupiter’s head have been discovered on this site and are visible in the city’s archaeological museum. Other remains were found during the 1988 excavations carried out by the city’s archaeological department. The following have been identified: a large swimming pool with cold water (natatio), the hot water room (caldarium), a large cold room (frigidarium) of which only the Porte d’Orée remains. A home was also discovered there.
The construction was built in opus vittatum mixtum, that is to say a mixed construction with brick and stone. The date of the building is based on its connection with a well dated sewer from the second half of the 2nd century AD, evacuating water from the natatio. The use of opus vitatum mixtum is further confirmation of this date.