La Charente Maritime
5 minutes pour découvrir la Charente Maritime

An exceptional historic town!     

On the tranquil banks of the Charente, right in the region of Roman Saintonge, Saintes is an exceptional historic town. Walking through it, you walk through 2,000 years of history.

A ‘Ville d’art et d’histoire’ (Town of Art and History)

Founded by a tribe of Gaul, then controlled by Rome, ‘Mediolanum Santonum’ developed strongly throughout the 1st century A.D. Hot springs, temples, aqueducts, a Roman arch and arenas were all built here. Today, scattered throughout the town, the remnants of these monuments can be visited. The archaeological museum offers an overview of this period and its monuments.

In the Middle Ages, Saintes became a major Christian town, the most beautiful jewels of which are the Abbaye-aux-Dames (Abbey) and the church of Saint-Eutrope.

With the expansion of the wine and alcohol trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, a number of luxury private residences were build along the Charente and around the cathedral of Saint-Pierre, in the middle of the old town on the left bank. The many pedestrian and shopping streets provide for an appreciation of this architecture.

Gentle living

River cruises on the Charente are another way to appreciate the rich heritage and gentle way of life of the Saintonge capital. Events related to the town's rich past are regularly organised. The famous ancient music festival, the ‘Festival de Saintes’, takes place every year in July – mainly in the Abbaye-aux-Dames – and is the fermata of local events.

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