France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Saintes, France Guide
An important town in Aquitaine since Roman times, Saintes is pleasant, pretty, and easily visitable—a fine stop for a half day or overnight.




The city of Saintes, 41 km (25 miles) southeast of Rochefort and 28 km (17 miles) northwest of Cognac (map), takes its name not from Christian saints but from the Romans—it was known as Mediolanum Santonum in Roman times.

Set amidst forests and fertile farm country, Saintes was the capital of Roman Aquitaine, and was an important government center until after the French Revolution. Although La Rochelle later took on this role, Saintes is still a judicial center for lawyers and courts.

Today Saintes is a delightful place: relatively small (population 26,500), tidy, well-kept, pleasant and historic with plenteous Roman ruins—the Arch of Germanicus, the Roman amphitheater and the Musée archéologique—as well as the Abbaye-aux-Dames and churches: the Basilique Saint-Eutrope and the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. More...

Just east of the major A10/E5 highway, Saintes is easy to reach by car or train. Indeed, for over a century, Saintes has been an important railroad hub. The trains brought commerce, activity and wealth to the city. More...

Hotels in Saintes are located either in the city center or a few kilometers to the west by the A10/E5 highway interchanges. They range from medium-priced comfort to simple, adequate budget lodgings. More...

Hotels in Saintes

What to See & Do

Saintes Transportation

About Saintes

Tourist Information





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Arch of Germanicus, Saintes, France

Arch of Germanicus, Saintes, France.

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