The luxuriousness of rural residences extolled by literary sources was also a reality for the villas of Roman Gaul. It was expressed in a variety of ways, all of which contributed to the prestige of both the dwelling and its owner. The choice of location and the qualities of the landscape can be a sign of these manifestations of wealth. When the shore was too far away, lakes and rivers could provide a lovely setting for the buildings and a feast for the eyes.

The use of architectural drawings, which provide a clue to the sums invested, explains the success of certain regional models – villas with colonnaded facades and pavilions in the northern and central Gaul, or the southern villas with peristyle. The dimensions, the development of construction techniques and materials, and the presence of porticos are also signs of wealth, as are the number of rooms, which provide the owner with areas for receiving and entertaining guests, and for sleeping quarters.

The size of the structure's baths, which could reach several hundred square meters, were another source of expense. Water brought under pressure could also be used in gardens and ornamental pools. The villa's public rooms were decorated with mosaics – which sometimes extended as far as the porticos – as well as wall paintings, plaster-work and marble cladding. Further indicators of comfort included window glass and the use of heated floors outside the bathing quarters.