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Wonderful Saints

Saintes is located in the department of Charente-Maritime, in the Poitou-Charentes region. It was founded more than two thousand years ago by the Romans and is a pilgrimage stop on the Via Turonensis of the Way of Saint James. The Basilica of Saint-Eutrope is part of the world heritage "The Roads to Santiago de Compostela in France".

It's a small town, so you can enjoy it on foot and take your time. Although its dimensions are small, it has a very rich and interesting heritage to visit and enjoy. It has had the label of city of art and history since 1990. This distinction is awarded to cities that have a good historical heritage and that value their heritage, while undertaking an initiative to make their inhabitants and visitors aware of their heritage. It has also been awarded the label of flowered towns and cities (it has a four-flower rating), where it rewards landscape and plant heritage, floral decorations, respect for the environment and quality of life.

Here are some sites to visit in Saintes:

St. Peter's Cathedral has been rebuilt several times, leaving only a few original elements. Of the whole complex stands out its imposing 72-metre-high bell tower. Its architectural form is very original and attracts a lot of attention.

The church of Saint-Eutrope and its crypt, in Romanesque style, was built in 1081 to house the relics of Saintonge's evangelist, Saint-Eutrope, and became an essential stop on the road to Santiago de Compostela. The crypt dates from the 11th century and has an original and innovative vault.

The church of Saint-Vivien, is dedicated to the bishop of Saintes, Vivien. The present church, in neoclassical style, is built on the remains of three Christian buildings.

Gallo-Roman amphitheatre, located on the side of the city, the entrance to visit it costs about 3 euros per person. We didn't enter for lack of time, but we could see it from outside.

The Germanic arch was the gateway to the Roman city. It underwent several modifications in the Middle Ages and in 1843 it was decided to demolish it, being saved at the last minute by Prosper Mérimée, and finally dismantled and reassembled in Bassompierres where it is now. It is the best preserved Roman ruin in Saintes.

Les Thermes Saint-Saloine, are the remains of one of the many spas in Saintes. They date from the 1st century AD and are located in a suburb.

The Ladies' Abbey, the first convent of nuns founded around 1059, had an immense influence. Mathilde de Frandes, wife of William the Conqueror, founder of the abbey, is buried in the Church of the Trinity. Today, it is the city of music, a training place for musicians and theatre actors. It opens every day at 2.30 and 4.00 pm. You can also enjoy its many concerts, for more information click here. It is a place that, even today, breathes peace and tranquility, in addition to having a very beautiful aesthetic.

Former convent of the Jacobins, installed in Saintes since the 13th century, the Jacobins decided to build a monastery at the foot of the cliffs. The property was completely destroyed during the Hundred Years' War and rebuilt in the 15th century. Today it houses the François Mitterrand Municipal Library, which has an important collection for adults as well as children and young people, and often organises temporary exhibitions and activities around reading.

For more information visit the website of theTourist Office of Saintes.