Saturday, 19 September 2015


Our neighbours very kindly bought us a Wonderbox gift last year for our wedding. The package entitled us to a night away in a wide choice of hotels. It has taken us a year to get round to organising it but this last week we had a couple of days away, staying the night at our chosen hotel, Hotel du Donjon in Aulnay de Saintonge in the Charente Maritime region of France.

We decided to explore the wider region before going to the hotel and Saintes, some 41k south of Aulnay seemed to have a good deal to offer. On the right bank of the Charente is the Arch of Germanicus, built in 18-19AD. It was originally built in front of the bridge which crossed the Charente but was relocated and restored following the demolition of the bridge in the 19th century.

On the left bank of the Charente is another surprise: the remains of a Roman Ampitheatre (41-54AD) in a small valley. The Ampitheatre could house up to 20,000 spectators and a visit to the site is well worth the rather "undulating" walk from the centre..

The walk back to the town lead us to a vantage point where the Cathédrale Saint‑Pierre de Saintes
 stands out against the backdrop of red tiled rooftops....

The Cathedral can also be seen from the Jardin Public, a beautifully designed park, with a glorious combination of colour, texture, formal and informal planting ..

After a day enjoying the sights of Saintes we were ready to get to our hotel. Our room was very comfortable and the patron, friendly and helpful. 

We found a restaurant in for our evening meal in Saint-Jean-d'Angély. Le Petit Bouchon served well cooked, home made food - just what we needed!

Unfortunately we were beaten by the rain on our second day, but we still managed a walk along the beach at Chatelaillon plage, before making a dash back for the car and home.

Thank you, Nathalie and Jean-Noel for a wonderful Wonderbox of a present!

1 comment:

Susan said...

Saintes is jolly interesting, isn't it? And it rained on us when we were there earlier in the year too.