Saintes, a charming town in southwestern France, is a hidden gem that offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque landscapes, Saintes is a destination that should not be missed. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, there is something for everyone in this enchanting town.
- Best Things to Do in Saintes (France)
- 1. Visit the Saint-Pierre Cathedral
- 2. Explore the Amphitheatre
- 3. Wander through the Gallo-Roman Arch
- 4. Visit the Archaeological Museum
- 5. Take a Boat Ride on the Charente River
- 6. Explore the Saintes Public Gardens
- 7. Visit the Abbaye aux Dames
- 8. Taste the Local Cuisine
- 9. Explore the Saint-Eutrope Church
- 10. Discover the Saintes Underground
- 11. Visit the Maison de la Pierre
- 12. Take a Day Trip to Cognac
- 13. Explore the Saintes Market
- 14. Attend a Festival or Event
- 15. Visit the Church of Saint Pallais
- 16. Take a Bike Ride along the Vélodyssée
- 17. Explore the Saintes Museum of Art and History
- 18. Take a Wine Tasting Tour
- 19. Relax at the Thermal Baths
- 20. Visit the Saintes Lighthouse
- 21. Explore the Saintes Botanical Gardens
- 22. Take a Guided Walking Tour
- 23. Visit the Church of Saintes
- 24. Explore the Saintes Museum of Natural History
- 25. Take a Cooking Class
- 26. Visit the Saintes Public Library
- 27. Take a Day Trip to La Rochelle
- 28. Attend a Concert at the Gallia Theater
- 29. Explore the Saintes Municipal Library
- 30. Take a Helicopter Tour
Best Things to Do in Saintes (France)
1. Visit the Saint-Pierre Cathedral
Start your journey in Saintes by visiting the magnificent Saint-Pierre Cathedral. This Romanesque masterpiece is a true architectural marvel, with its intricate carvings and stunning stained glass windows. Take a moment to admire the grandeur of this sacred place.
2. Explore the Amphitheatre
Step back in time at the Roman Amphitheatre, one of the best-preserved in France. Marvel at the impressive structure and imagine the gladiatorial battles that once took place here. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the views from the top are breathtaking.
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3. Wander through the Gallo-Roman Arch
Take a stroll through the Gallo-Roman Arch, a testament to the town’s ancient past. Admire the intricate carvings and learn about the history of this fascinating monument.
4. Visit the Archaeological Museum
For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Archaeological Museum is a must. Discover a vast collection of artifacts from the Roman era, including pottery, sculptures, and jewelry. Learn about the town’s rich history and how it has evolved over the centuries.
5. Take a Boat Ride on the Charente River
Experience the beauty of Saintes from a different perspective by taking a boat ride on the Charente River. Enjoy the tranquil surroundings as you glide along the water, taking in the stunning views of the town and its surroundings.
6. Explore the Saintes Public Gardens
Escape the hustle and bustle of the town by exploring the peaceful Saintes Public Gardens. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-manicured gardens, admire the colorful flowers, and relax on one of the benches.
7. Visit the Abbaye aux Dames
Discover the Abbaye aux Dames, a former Benedictine abbey that dates back to the 11th century. Explore the stunning architecture, including the beautiful cloister and the impressive church. Don’t miss the chance to attend a concert in the abbey’s acoustically perfect auditorium.
8. Taste the Local Cuisine
No visit to Saintes is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Sample the delicious Charentais specialties, such as the famous Cognac and the mouthwatering seafood dishes. Visit one of the charming restaurants in town and savor the flavors of the region.
9. Explore the Saint-Eutrope Church
Visit the Saint-Eutrope Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is known for its unique architecture. Marvel at the intricate details of the facade and step inside to admire the beautiful stained glass windows.
10. Discover the Saintes Underground
Embark on an underground adventure by exploring the hidden tunnels and caves beneath the streets of Saintes. Learn about the town’s fascinating underground history and the role these tunnels played during various periods.
11. Visit the Maison de la Pierre
Learn about the history of stone carving in Saintes at the Maison de la Pierre. Discover the techniques used by ancient craftsmen and admire the intricate stone carvings on display.
12. Take a Day Trip to Cognac
Located just a short distance from Saintes, the town of Cognac is famous for its world-renowned brandy. Take a day trip to Cognac and visit one of the distilleries to learn about the production process and sample the different varieties of this iconic drink.
13. Explore the Saintes Market
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Saintes Market, where locals gather to buy fresh produce, cheese, and other regional specialties. Browse through the stalls, taste the local delicacies, and pick up some souvenirs to take home.
14. Attend a Festival or Event
Saintes is known for its lively festivals and events throughout the year. Check the local calendar and see if there are any cultural or music festivals happening during your visit. Immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
15. Visit the Church of Saint Pallais
Explore the Church of Saint Pallais, a hidden gem in Saintes. Admire the beautiful stained glass windows and the unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
16. Take a Bike Ride along the Vélodyssée
Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Saintes countryside by taking a bike ride along the Vélodyssée. This long-distance cycling route offers breathtaking views of the Charente River and the surrounding vineyards.
17. Explore the Saintes Museum of Art and History
Discover the rich cultural heritage of Saintes at the Museum of Art and History. Browse through the extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts that showcase the town’s artistic legacy.
18. Take a Wine Tasting Tour
Indulge in the flavors of the region by taking a wine tasting tour. Visit one of the local vineyards and learn about the winemaking process while sampling some of the finest wines produced in Saintes.
19. Relax at the Thermal Baths
Unwind and rejuvenate at the thermal baths in Saintes. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day, indulge in a therapeutic massage, or take a dip in the healing waters.
20. Visit the Saintes Lighthouse
Take a trip to the Saintes Lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking vista that will leave you speechless.
21. Explore the Saintes Botanical Gardens
Discover a variety of plant species at the Saintes Botanical Gardens. Take a leisurely walk through the well-maintained gardens and learn about the different plants and flowers that thrive in this region.
22. Take a Guided Walking Tour
Join a guided walking tour of Saintes and learn about the town’s history and culture from a knowledgeable local guide. Explore the hidden corners, hear fascinating stories, and gain a deeper understanding of this charming town.
23. Visit the Church of Saintes
Step inside the Church of Saintes and admire the beautiful architecture and stunning artwork. Take a moment to reflect in the peaceful atmosphere of this sacred place.
24. Explore the Saintes Museum of Natural History
Learn about the natural history of the region at the Museum of Natural History. Discover a wide range of exhibits, including fossils, minerals, and animal specimens.
25. Take a Cooking Class
Immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of Saintes by taking a cooking class. Learn how to prepare traditional dishes using local ingredients and techniques, and savor the fruits of your labor.
26. Visit the Saintes Public Library
Escape into the world of literature at the Saintes Public Library. Browse through the extensive collection of books, relax in the reading area, or attend one of the literary events.
27. Take a Day Trip to La Rochelle
Located just a short drive from Saintes, the coastal town of La Rochelle is worth a visit. Explore the historic old town, stroll along the picturesque harbor, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
28. Attend a Concert at the Gallia Theater
Experience the performing arts at the Gallia Theater, a historic venue that hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and other cultural events. Check the schedule and see if there are any performances happening during your visit.
29. Explore the Saintes Municipal Library
Discover the rich literary heritage of Saintes at the Municipal Library. Browse through the extensive collection of books, attend a literary event, or simply relax in the cozy reading area.
30. Take a Helicopter Tour
For a truly unforgettable experience, take a helicopter tour of Saintes and its surroundings. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the town, the Charente River, and the beautiful countryside.
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Saintes is a destination that offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. From its rich history and stunning architecture to its natural beauty and delicious cuisine, this charming town has something for everyone. Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins, indulging in the local delicacies, or simply strolling through the picturesque streets, Saintes will captivate your heart and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.