Mid-February and we are basking in very spring-like temperatures; 15 – 18c, and one corner of the garden, which is a real sun trap, recorded 20c the day before. It really is essential to make the most of this kind of weather at this time of year, and after having had a week in the garden I decided it was high time to have a day off! I am, afterall, retired, so should be able to do what I want whenever I want. One of my missions this year is to try and explore more of the region, and my first outing of the year was to Saintes in the department of Charente-Maritime. It is just over an hours drive from me, and it is all cross-country, so a really pleasant drive.
I was amazed just how lovely this historic town is with the Charente River dividing it into the Left and Right banks. It boasts Gallo-Roman, mediaeval and classical heritage and an important resting place on the ancient pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of Saint James).
The Arch of Germanicus, (with some horrendous modern art work thing going on). I was reassured that this was a temporary installation…God, I hope so! Anyway, it was built in 18 – 19 AD and thankfully was saved from demolition in 1843. Directly opposite is the river and the Left bank and the historical area of Saint Pierre.
Dominating the skyline is the Cathedral of Saint Pierre.
Another gem of Saintes is the Gallo-Roman ampitheatre, created by Claudius in 40 – 50 AD and is one of the best preserved arenas in France.
The Basilica of Saint-Eutrope
So this is just a ‘teaser’ of Saintes because there is plenty more to see and I need to explore longer. I will be back!