Bordering the Charente river the town was founded by the Romans founded about 20 BC.
There remains a magnificent Roman Triumphal Arch, the ruins of a Roman Ampitheatre and many fine Romanesque churches.
Landmarks in Saintes include:
The Arch of Germanicus, a triumphal arch, was built at the entrance to a bridge, where the main Roman road crossed the Charente River. The bridge was demolished in 1843 but the Arch was saved by Prosper Mérimée and rebuilt at its present location on the bank of the river.
Ruins of the Roman amphitheatre on the main, left bank of the Charente, near the summit of the hill upon which the town was built. Its notable tiers (cavea) are built against the hill and an embankment.
Some remnants of the thermae of Saint-Saloine (First Century) are also visible,
in particular an aqueduct.
Fragments of the Third Century rampart (to the city walls) can be seen in the Place des Récollets. It was built with stones taken from the Roman buildings.
The Abbaye-aux-Dames. Madame de Montespan was educated here.
Other churches: the Basilique Saint-Eutrope (Basilica of Saint Eutropius) and the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. Saintes Cathedral
The Musée archéologique, which has a restored Roman cart/wagon of the First Century amongst a collection of sculptures and inscriptions.
The Musée du Présidial, which has a mannerist architecture and a collection of regional ceramics and paintings of the 15th to 18th century.
The Musée de l'Échevinage, which exhibits porcelain of Sèvres and paintings of the 19th and 20th century
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