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Saintes

Saintes

Travel inland through beautiful countryside of sloping fields, vineyards and forests, outstanding Romanesque architecture, stately chateaux and charming villages to reach the town of Saintes...

Saintes-riverfront

Established by the Romans, Saintes was once the economic capital of the Charente-Maritime. Today it’s a pretty market town famed for its Roman ruins – and for being the birthplace of a certain Dr Guillotin!

The Arc de Germanicus was built in 19AD and dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, his son Drusu & nephew Germanicus. The arch originally stood on a stone bridge but was moved to the riverbank in 1843 when the bridge was demolished to make way for a replacement. Close to the Arc is an archaeological museum.

Les Arènes, a little way out of the town, are the remains of a huge amphitheatre. Built in 40AD, it once held 15,000 spectators and although the seats are now grassed over, you can still get a sense of how it once looked. The Thermes de Saint-Saloine are the excavated remains of early 4th century buildings thought to be part of a network of spas.

Sainte-amphitheatre-gallo-roman

The 12th century Abbaye aux Dames church was part of a monastic collective founded for women a century or so earlier.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 11th century Saint-Europe church was built by Benedictine monks and is effectively two churches, one above the other.

The 15th century spire was built with a donation from King Louis XI.

Location (Map)

Saintes, France

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