Savoring The Stars of Saintes
Posted on January 04, 2013 by sguese
You can still spot the ruins of Saintes, the remains of a town that has been busy since it was Roman.
Set up on the western coast of France, Saintes wedges in between La Rochelle and Bordeaux for a bit of attention. Lazy day strollers can appreciate Saintes for its renowned architecture, from Roman ruins to Romanesque churches.
The Roman Remains
The Roman side to Saintes is apparent all around town. Travelers can visit L’Arc of Germanicus dating back to 19 A.D. Dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, his son Drusu and nephew Germanicus, the arch is right next door to the archeological museum. The museum houses a collection of Roman artifacts, walls and pillars. Saintes’ Roman side continues to Les Arénas. The remains of this amphitheater sit just outside of town. The stage was set in 40 AD. In its prime, it could hold 15,000 spectators. Saintes also boasts the Thermes de Saint-Saloine. The excavated remains are thought to be what once was a network of spas.
The Romanesque Architecture
While the Roman ruins of Saintes have long drawn crowds, it is the Romanesque architecture that completes the town’s picture. The landmark of Saintes and Romanesque stunner is the Cathedral of St. Pierre. Those on the hunt for more Romanesque pieces should head to the Abbaye aux Dames Church, a 12th century construction once part of a monastic collective for women, and the Saint-Eutrope Church. Saint Eutrope Church rests on the Santiago de Compostella Pilgrim route. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site. In its crypt, you will find the tomb of Saintes’ first bishop Eutroples.
The Charente River
If your feet are starting to ache from exploring Saintes, you can always take to the Charente Rive instead. Many enjoy cursing the river by small electric boats or large cruiser. One of the best ways to explore the Charente River however is by gabarre. The traditional flat-bottomed oak boat was once used to transport goods like cognac and salt.
The Day Trips
Due to Saintes’ location, travelers can hop in the car hire Saintes and explore the surrounding area. Just northeast of Saintes is La Roche Courbon, the impressive chateau tucked in an ancient forest. Visitors can tour the finely furnished castle along with its beautifully maintained French style gardens.
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