|Elevation||2–81 m (6.6–265.7 ft) |
(avg. 47 m or 154 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
In Roman times, Saintes was known as
Primarily built on the left bank of the Charente, Saintes became the first Roman capital of Aquitaine, and later, the capital of the province of
Today, Saintes remains the economic heart of the center of the department and it is an important transportation hub. A few major industrial business operate (in electronics, rail repair, construction of hoists). The city's commerce and service sector is large with the headquarters of Coop Atlantique, administrative functions of state, courts, legal services, banks, schools and a hospital. Beyond this, property maintenance, retail and tourism sectors provide large numbers of jobs.
Because of its noteworthy Gallo-Roman, medieval and classical heritage, Saintes is a tourist destination and a member of the
Saintes is on the banks of the
Nearer to the river, the Cretaceous plateau gives way to more or less recent alluvial grasslands composed of bri, a type of clay.
The town is divided into 14 administrative areas : Les Boiffiers, Les Tourneurs, L'Ormeau de Pied, Recouvrance, La Fenêtre, Saint-Rémy, Saint-Vivien, Saint-Eutrope, Saint-Pierre, Saint-Pallais, Saint-Sébastien de Bouard, La Récluse, Le Maine-Saint-Sorlin and Bellevue.
The neighborhood of Saint-Pierre lies between the hill of the Capitole and the river Charente. It possesses a significant number of historic monuments justifying its forming of the core of a conservation area that spans over 65 hectares (0.25 sq mi). Built around the
Almost immediately west lies the neighbourhood of Saint-Eutrope, that has developed over the centuries around a rocky elevation bounded by two small valleys at right angles to the river. Dominated by the Saint-Eutrope basilica, it also contains the remains of a Clunian priory and several hillside houses. Little valleys lead to the vallon des Arènes (meaning arenas vale) below, where a Roman amphiteatre survives, in a park named "Parc des Arènes".
The cours Reverseaux and cours des Apôtres de la liberté separate Saint-Eutrope (and its hill) in the west from the faubourg Berthonnière. These partly separate the hill of the Capitole to the north. Once outside-of-the-walls, the faubourg included some hostelries and inns for pilgrims. The streets of the faubourg converge toward the place Saint-Louis, the place de l'Aubarrée and the place Blair, dominated by a column of
The neighbourhoods of les Boiffiers and Bellevue are separated from the rest of the city by the avenue de Saintonge; they consist mainly in low-rent housing (HLM) and suburban housing standing on a plateau bounded by the Charente. Bellevue has 1,560 inhabitants and spans 17 hectares (42 acres); it is listed as a
La Recouvrance, in a triangle formed by the cours du maréchal Leclerc, the cours Genet and the rocade ouest (bypass), contains a
The north of the urban area, the Saint-Vivien neighborhood has an old faubourg (exurb) inhabited since antiquity where the thermes de Saint-Saloine, ancient Roman baths are found.
The neighborhood of Saint-Pallais was probably urbanized in antiquity. Structured around the main access way of the Roman city, it was then linked to the town center by a bridge with a monumental entrance, the
Saintes is a transportation hub of some importance, connected by two
Saintes is on the Route Centre-Europe Atlantique, an expressway that links it to
The rocade is formed in its western part by the national road 137, that meets two key roads, the departmental road 728 (that links Saintes to the
In 1894, the station was the starting point of a 3 km long network of tramways that was stopped in 1934. In 1894 was also founded a secondary railway 42 km long linking Saintes to
The importance of this railway network is explained by the designation of Saintes as the seat of the Compagnie des chemins de fer des Charentes in 1867, then as the regional seat of the VIIIth arrondissement of the Chemins de fer de l'État from 1911 to 1971. The