Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saintes, France - July 2, 2011

To our delight, Saintes turned out to have much to gawk at including major artifacts going back 2000 years or more. Originally a small Celtic settlement of the Santon tribe it was taken over by the Romans in the 1st century BCE at which time they established their regional capital on the site of modern day Saintes. The location was propitious as the crossing point of the major Roman road from Lyons and the river Charentes. In Roman times, the city was known as Mediolanum Santonum.
A little west of downtown Saintes is the neighborhood of Saint Eutrope, that has developed over the centuries around a rocky elevation dominated by the basilica of Saint-Eutrope. This area also includes the remains of a Roman amphiteatre large enough to have seated the entire population of the town.
There is not a lot of industry in Saintes, a few manufacturers of electronics, railroad equipment and hoists, but the city performs considerable administrative functions for surrounding area - government jobs for the unemployed! Overall though, a very enjoyable visit to this unsung city.
More pictures here.

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