What to do in Val de Saintonge and Saintes?

Saintes
Share What to do in Val de Saintonge and Saintes?
What to do in Val de  ...
Are you planning a vacation in the Val de Saintonge and wondering what to do around Saintes? Between the Boutonne valley and that of the Charente, the Val de Saintonge has no shortage of tourist attractions to seduce you.
This nature destination offers a countryside atmosphere, without being too far from the coast. Its hilly landscapes, crisscrossed by the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, are very popular with hikers and cyclists. The banks of the Charente and the Boutonne offer numerous aquatic activities. The Gallo-Roman heritage around Saintes and the medieval heritage throughout the Val de Saintonge have something to seduce lovers of old stones. We take you on a journey to the heart of history, in the Saintonge countryside.

Opening photo: The Quays of Saintonge in Saintes. Photo: Lotharingia | Adobestock


sponsored content

Visit Saintes, the capital of Saintonge

In Saintes, you travel through its 2000 years of history! Further on, we know that the Santons laid the first stones there, but they left only few vestiges. Roman constructions, on the other hand, have survived the centuries until today. You can admire the foundations of the Thermes de Saint-Saloine or the ancient gateway to the city, the Arch of Germanicus. The most grandiose symbol of this fabulous history is its Gallo-Roman amphitheater. Of course, it has been affected by time, but its ruins still bear witness to its past magnitude. Consult the practical information for visiting the amphitheater of Mediolanum Santonum.


saints

An aerial view of Saintes. Photo © Altitudedrone | Adobestock


If its Gallo-Roman period is its golden age, Saintes is a major stopover for pilgrimages to Compostela. The Capital of Saintonge maintained a certain prestige, especially intellectual and religious, throughout the Middle Ages. This " city of art and history " thus has a beautiful medieval heritage. Religious monuments have a good place there: the Saint-Pierre cathedral, the ladies' abbey, the Saint-Eutrope basilica, the Jacobins convent and many churches. At the Museum of Échevinage, admire beautiful works from the 15th to 20th century. A few mansions still bear witness to past nobility.

In the 18th century, a new urban plan restores life to the town of Saintes. Followed by a large rail yard in the 19th century and a strong expansion of the city in the 20th century. The Dupuy Mestreau Museum retraces the life of this modern era.

the good idea


Follow us on our visit to Saintes (fr).

gallo roman amphitheater

The magnificent Gallo-Roman amphitheater of Saintes. Photo © J. Ossorio-Castillo | Adobestock

Discover the most beautiful villages of Saintonge

La Saintonge has been occupied since the Gallo-Roman period. Each of its villages or towns is marked by this very long history... To follow this evolution over time, we reveal our selection of the most beautiful villages of Saintonge and their main point of interest:  

  • Saintes and its Gallo-Roman sites
  • Saint Jean d'Angely and its royal abbey of the 9th century
  • Aulnay de Saintonge for its Saint-Pierre-d'Aulnay church, a Romanesque building from the 12th century
  • Taillebourg and Castle Crazannes 14th century
  • Dampierre-sur-Boutonne and its castle of the 15th century
  • The Château de la Roche Courbon and its French gardens of the 17th century
  • Saint-Savinien-sur-Charente and its iconic barges river trade of the 18 th and 19 th centuries

courbon rock castle

    The superb Château de la Roche Courbon and its gardens. Photo © Picturereflex-Adobestock

    Take a stroll in Saintonge, on foot or by bike

    The Boutonne valley is classified as a “ Natura 2000 site ”. It is a preserved environment that it is very pleasant to explore in all seasons. The site of the tourist office " Destination Vals de Saintonge " offers you ideas for very detailed hiking tours.

    The paths of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle cross the Vals de Saintonge on the Voie de Tours, from Aulnay-de-Saintonge to Saintes. There you will find several entry points. The route passes near Saint-Jean-d'Angély. You follow the GR655. Here is practical information on the GR-infos site.

    For cyclists, we advise you to join the Flow bike (fr). It is a new road that goes from the Dordogne to the Atlantic Ocean. In the Saintonge sector, you take it from Saintes to Saint-Savinien. The route is approximately 25 km long and runs along the Charente.


    sponsored content

    Enjoy the pleasures of water in a leisure park

    Want to cool off and have fun with the family? The Miniature Port of Saint-Savinien will delight young and old alike. Small-scale boats of all kinds allow you to test your navigation skills and promise you great fun with the family. In summer, you can also have a blast on inflatables and rides.

    If you fancy a walk on the water, the Charente is dotted with nautical bases:

    • In Saint-Savinien where Agence les Canotiers rents you electric boats.
    • On the nautical base of Port-d'Envaux, you can try your hand at canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding or electric boat.
    • There is also a canoe club in Dompierre-sur-Charente.

    To change the setting, try a walk on the Boutonne, from the nautical base of Saint-Jean-d'Angély, on the Bernouët lake.

    If you prefer a more urban aquatic area, the Atlantys Aquatic Center welcomes you in Saint-Jean-d'Angély. There are many pools to satisfy all your desires and all the members of the family: swimming lane against the current, diving pool, paddling pool for children, relaxation area with bubble bench. You also have access to a relaxation area with jacuzzi, hammam and sauna.


    miniature port of saint savinien

    The super miniature port of Saint-Savinien, which will delight the whole family. Photo © Le Port Miniature de Saint-Savinien

    Go back in time, in the castles of Saintonge

    The Château Fort de Saint-Jean-d'Angle is a leisure park with, as a backdrop, the true and yet incredible story of the Lusignan family. A kingdom of fairies and knights to discover with the family. On site, there is something for all ages: puzzles that take you through a huge park, a lively castle, trebuchet shooting demonstrations, ancient games, a medieval garden and a rose garden, a poultry yard with farm animals…

    The Château de Crazannes is a beautiful Renaissance building, which inspired Charles Perrault for the residence of the “ Puss in Boots. It must be said that this castle looks like a fairy tale. The interiors are accessible by guided tour. Outside, you can visit the chapel, the keep, the dovecote and a museum. Its flower gardens are very pleasant and allow you to admire the castle from all angles.

    The Château de la Roche Courbon is the largest castle in Charente Maritime. And for good reason, the domain includes the old medieval fortress and has been enlarged with a Renaissance-style residence. During the guided tour, you will discover its period furniture, its painted ceilings, its ceremonial staircase… As the site has been occupied for a very long time, it has a prehistoric museum. The youngest will appreciate the games of yesteryear, the workshops and the activities. Its listed gardens are also remarkable and offer various universes.


    fortified castle of saint jen d'angle

    The Château Fort de Saint-Jean-Angle offers entertainment for the whole family in the summer season. Photo © The Fortified Castle of Saint-Jean-d'Angle

    Satisfy your curiosity in tourist sites

    Near Saintes, the Paléosite de Saint-Cézaire is one of the must-sees. It is recognized as the first interpretation center in Europe. These facilities are at the cutting edge of technology. Inside, you will find interactive projection rooms, virtual reality, or with life-size reenactments of prehistoric animals. The rest of the visit takes place in a shaded natural site with reconstructed and animated scenes, workshops to experiment with the techniques of the time...

    If you prefer an outdoor site only, go to the Bambouseraie Joan Brisson in Matha, near Saint-Jean-d'Angély. This exotic garden presents different species of bamboo, but also many other rare plants and original flowers. It is a revitalizing, colorful and refreshing haven of peace.


    paleosite

    The Paleosite is the ideal place to learn more about our ancestors and all the hominids. Photo © Paléosite de Saint-Cézaire

    We hope to have inspired you with lots of ideas for exploring the Val de Saintonge, during your next vacation in Charente-Maritime.


    sponsored content

    Did you like our article? Find others on our Blog "Do it your way" of the Guide Charente Maritime. Subscribe to the Facebook page of the Guide de la Charente Maritime and also find us on Instagram @guidecharentemaritime.


    Back to "Weekend & Holidays"

    You will like also

    Visit the castles of Charente Maritime!

    Visit the castles of Charente Maritime!
    Visit the castles of Charente Maritime!

    14,5 km - Saint-Porchaire

    Discovery of Pons and its historic treasures

    Discovery of Pons and its historic treasures
    Discovery of Pons and its historic treasures

    19,7 km - Pons

    The 10 tourist and natural sites to visit in Charente Maritime

    The 10 tourist and natural sites to visit in Charente Maritime
    The 10 tourist and natural sites to visit in C ...

    25,8 km - Saint-Jean-d'Angle

    Exotic journey in the heart of the Bambouseraie de Matha

    Exotic journey in the heart of the Bambouseraie de Matha
    Exotic journey in the heart of the Bambouserai ...

    27,8 km - Matha

    Discovery of Tonnay-Charente and its Suspension Bridge

    Discovery of Tonnay-Charente and its Suspension Bridge
    Discovery of Tonnay-Charente and its Suspensio ...

    29,9 km - Tonnay-Charente

    Events nearby

    Concert du Jeune Orchestre de l'Abbaye

    Concert du Jeune Orchestre de l'Abbaye
    Concert du Jeune Orchestre de l'Abbaye

    21/10/2021

    Saintes

    Concerts

    Halloween en famille

    Halloween en famille
    Halloween en famille

    27/10/2021

    Saintes

    Fêtes populaires

    Concert gourmand chez Bach

    Concert gourmand chez Bach
    Concert gourmand chez Bach

    05/12/2021

    Saintes

    Concerts

    Concert du JOA, sous la direction de David Stern

    Concert du JOA, sous la direction de David Stern
    Concert du JOA, sous la direction de David Stern

    18/12/2021

    Saintes

    Concerts

    Visite guidée de Saintes, l'Arc de Germanicus et l'Abbaye aux Dames

    Visite guidée de Saintes, l'Arc de Germanicus et l'Abbaye aux Dames
    Visite guidée de Saintes, l'Arc de Germanicus  ...

    01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021

    145 m - Saintes

    Divers

    Visite guidée "Promenade au cœur de Saintes"

    Visite guidée "Promenade au cœur de Saintes"
    Visite guidée "Promenade au cœur de Saintes"

    01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021

    145 m - Saintes

    Divers

    Visite guidée de Saintes, l'Amphithéâtre et l'église St-Eutrope

    Visite guidée de Saintes, l'Amphithéâtre et l'église St-Eutrope
    Visite guidée de Saintes, l'Amphithéâtre et l' ...

    01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021

    145 m - Saintes

    Théâtre

    Visite guidée de Saintes "Saintes romaine et romane"

    Visite guidée de Saintes "Saintes romaine et romane"
    Visite guidée de Saintes "Saintes romaine et r ...

    01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021

    145 m - Saintes

    Divers

    Visite guidée "Rando visite"

    Visite guidée "Rando visite"
    Visite guidée "Rando visite"

    01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021

    145 m - Saintes

    Sorties natures

    Marché Saint-Pierre de Saintes

    Marché Saint-Pierre de Saintes
    Marché Saint-Pierre de Saintes

    01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021

    147 m - Saintes

    Marchés

    You will like also

    Saintes

    Saintes
    Saintes

    Saintes and its 2000 years of history invite you to go back in time. Its Gallo-Roman amphitheater, one of the oldest ...

    Saintes

    Vallée de la Charente

    Vallée de la Charente
    Vallée de la Charente

    The Charente Valley is a natural site, classified "Natura 2000". The protection zone extends from Angoulême to ...

    Saintes

    Canal de Charras

    Canal de Charras
    Canal de Charras

    The Charras Canal connects the Devise river to the Charente river. It makes it possible to channel the waters of the ...

    219 m - Rochefort

    Germanicus Arch

    Germanicus Arch
    Germanicus Arch

    Automatic translate The Germanicus Arch marked the main entrance to the Roman city in front of the bridge that ...

    391 m - Saintes

    Thermes of Saint-Saloine

    Thermes of Saint-Saloine
    Thermes of Saint-Saloine

    Automatic translate The thermes of Saint-Saloine are the remains of one of the many thermal baths owned by Saintes ...

    772 m - Saintes

    Ride around

    Circuit Torxé le Moulin

    Circuit Torxé le Moulin
    Circuit Torxé le Moulin

    23,4 km - Torxé

    Walking Velo hybrid Mountain bike

    Circuit de Chantemerle sur la Soie

    Circuit de Chantemerle sur la Soie
    Circuit de Chantemerle sur la Soie

    26,2 km - Chantemerle-sur-la-Soie

    Walking Velo hybrid

    Circuit 8 St-Loup Les Petites Rivières

    Circuit 8 St-Loup Les Petites Rivières
    Circuit 8 St-Loup Les Petites Rivières

    28,4 km - Saint-Loup

    Walking Velo hybrid

    Circuit de Nachamps

    Circuit de Nachamps
    Circuit de Nachamps

    30,4 km - Nachamps

    Walking Velo hybrid

    Circuit de Puyrolland

    Circuit de Puyrolland
    Circuit de Puyrolland

    31,7 km - Puyrolland

    Walking Velo hybrid Mountain bike