The town of SAINTES
is on one of the pillgrin walkway to "Saint Jacques de Compostelle" :
more than 2000 years old, Saintes was |
the capital of the Gallic people named: the “Santones”,
and Roman province of Aquitaine, under the name of MEDIOLANUM SANTORUM
Christianized very early, it becomes a town dedicated mainly to the religion. Saintes is endowed in the Middle Age of conventual establishments among which the Saint-Eutrope convent, a main halt on St - Jacques de Compostelle's road, and also the prestigious Abbey-aux-Dames. City border during the One hundred years war, freed by Duguesclin, it will undergo the devastation of the religious wars before knowing a more prosperous period during XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries On the eve of the Revolution, the modern town planning upsets the city by the creation of main trunk roads and in XIXth s the railway and its workshops, implanted in the suburb, offers a development in the right side.
Today, city of culture and tourism. Saintes offer its rich patrimony to the guests who come to enjoy the incomparable atmosphere of the Atlantic coast.
Irst-century amphiteatre |
Built under Claude's administration towards 40 after JC, it is characterized by a cavea (successions of terraces) perched on the valley. .
In the East, the completely built structures close the valley.
Dimensions: 126 on 102 m. It could received approximately 15 000 spectators.
Closed on monday.
Raised in 18-19 after JC at the entrance of a bridge, it had a function of door of the city when arriving from the main Roman way coming from Lyon.
On the attique, is registered a dedication to the emperor Tibère and his nephews Germanicus and Drusus. On the entablement is represented the genealogy of the santones donor Caïus Julius Rufus.
Saved in 1843 by Prosper Mérimée during the destruction of the bridge,it was unsettled and reconstructed on the right side.
(Place des Récollets)
The museum of SAINTES
& houses of SAINTES
The houses of the historic centre -by the quality of the limestone and their decoration -participate in the charm and in the atmosphere so particular of Saintes.
The most prestigious houses date XVIIth and XVIIIth s :
the hotel " Présidial " raised by 1605 (museum of the Fine art),
The lodging house of the governor (belvedere of the hospital),
Brémont d'Ars's hotel (street of the Jacobins),
the hotel of Montconseil (presently Dupuy-Mestreau museum) built in 1738 on the quays of the Charente,
The Viaud hotel (rue des Jacobins).
In the XIXth century, rich traders of Cognac make build beautiful particular hotels:
the villa Musso (presently Office of
the Rouyer-Guillet hotel which overhangs the Charente river(quay of Yser).
The national stud farm of Saintes
On a ten hectare surface, SAINTES's
farm has for objective to protect and to immortalize regional
races such as Saddles French, the French trotter and the donkey
of Poitou. Other noble races as English pur-sang and English-Arabic
are to be seen in its typical buildings of the Second Empire.
at Nieul-lès-Saintes ( 8 km from Saintes)
Built in 14th century according to Jean Chaudrier's wishes, then mayor of La Rochelle, the castle of Nieul-lès-Saintes is restored today by the owner. The defensive vocation of this castle takes then all its plenitude with towers, outbuildings, subterranean rooms...
(see the chateau de Nieuil-les-saintes in Belle Saintonge main page)
The romanesque church of Nieuil-les-Saintes
(See Nieuil-les-saintes in the romanesque art in Saintonge)
castle of Panloy
at Port-d'Envaux (10 Km from Saintes)
Do not miss the dressed up festivities organized inside the castel by Mr the marquess!
(See ' la bugée au Chateau' in Belle Saintonge)
Built in 18th century, the castle of Panloy shows two of the Renaissance pavillons of the ancient building. The inside, as the outside of the domain is admirable by the disposition and the style. stables and dovecote are typical realizations of the animal architecture. The inside shows treasures such as the woodwork of its dining room
quary museum of
at Port-d'Envaux ( 10 Km from Saintes)
To compensate the lock of the stones quaries of Crazannes, a museum of quary skills and technics was created to present how were extracted and transported these stones,
the material constituting most of local churches and as well as the pedestal of the Freedom statue of NY.
'les carrières de CRAZANNES' in Belle Saintonge)
The Fontdouce Abbaye
at Saint-Bris-des-Bois (12 Km from Saintes)
Erected in 12th century, the abbey of Fondouce, the name of which results from the spring water crossing towards one of the conventual buildings, begins its decline at the end of the religious wars and was sold during the french Revolution. Restored partially, we can admire the chapter room today where a profusion of columns supports finely decorated keystones. Of the church remain only some vestiges while the lower and the high chapels may be visited.
(See 'l'Abbaye de Fontdouce' in Belle Saintonge)
There are numerous romanesque churches arround SAINTES (La clisse, Ecurat, Le Douhet, Colombiers, Rioux, Rétaud ...)
Beautiful walks as the vestiges of the Roman aqueduct, the thermes of Vénerand in the North, the last boat using chains to cross a river at Chaniers in the South, the paléosite of Saint Césaire in the East, the peninsula of Arvert with its oysterfarms, swamps, beaches on the West are offered for visiting.
I wish you an nice trip !
OFFICE DE TOURISME DE SAINTES & DE
Villa Musso, 62, cours National - BP 96 - 17103 Saintes Cedex Tél. 05 46 74 23 82 - Fax 05 46 92 17 01
OFFICE *** Open all year round
At your convinience, free: brochures and
Brochures and indications on the residences, the restoration, the
leisures and the cultural activities in the region.
The Office also proposes you conducted tours by foot, in bicycles, "Noctambulations" in evenings summer, river walks aboard a 'gabare'...
Back to 'Romanesque ART in Saintonge
The crypte or lower church
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