Roman Ruins In South West France

Neatly tucked away in the South West of France is the Charente Maritime region.  This area attracts many visitors throughout the year – for it has some spectacularly beautiful scenery and mile after mile of tantalising grapevines.  Warm summers and mild winters make this an ideal spot for holidaymakers.  The river Charente runs peacefully through the area, offering charming picnic spots and relaxing walks for tourists. Getting here is no problem, and with a certain date in February looming, this is a great romantic get-away spot, so check out what flights are available.

Relax In Ancient Ruins

Saintes is the second largest city in the Charente Maritime and is located in the district of Poitou-Charentes.  Although not as popular as its neighbours Royan or La Rochelle, Saintes boasts an impressive history over 2000 years old with a medieval heritage.  You can stumble across an awe-inspiring piece of ancient history, near the summit of the hill upon which the town was constructed.  The ruins of the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre can be found on the left bank of the river Charente.  It’s fairy tale footpaths are ruins themselves, and you follow these down, desending into dense greenery before climbing the hill and emerging at the top to view Les Arènes.  Thought to be built in 40-50 AD, the amphitheatre in Saintes is said to be one of the oldest surviving examples left.  Most of the seats have now grassed over, but from the upper most viewing point you can visualize it holding close to 20,000 spectators.

Stone stairways lead down into the arena that is now used for military training and ceremonies.  On a warm day, the evocative surroundings of Les Arènes is great for contemplation, and it’s not difficult to conjure up scenes of chariot racing or feast day plays.   Housed in the visitor centre is a small tearoom and shop.  Audio guides are available for a small charge, and the entry fee for adults is 2 Euros, children over 10 years 1 Euro.  Under 10’s are free.

Sample The Local Cake Shop

After sampling the amazing architecture you can stroll back into Saintes for a walk along the river, or peruse the shops.  If all the sightseeing has made you feel parched, what better way to quench your thirst than a local café?    The delightful L’Angèlys is situated in Rue Victor Hugo, and offers excellent coffee and a multitude of delicious ice creams and patisserie; well worth a visit!  Relax al fresco and watch the world go by in this pretty town and plan which of the many restaurants you can sample for dinner.

Easyjet  have regular flights to the South West of France, so this should definately be one to consider for a weekend break with a difference.