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Bill Thayer

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Saintes: A Pleasant Town on a River

A town of western France: 45°44.8N, 0°38.0W. Altitude: 2 m. Population in 1999: 25,600.

[image ALT: A river occupies most of the photo, about 100 meters wide, with a modern three-pier bridge in the background; on the left, a quay of three-story buildings. It is a view of Saintes, in western France.]

The Charente flows placidly thru town.

[image ALT: A group of arched stone ruins, with a hill in the background. It is a partial view of the remains of the Roman amphitheater in Saintes in western France.]

The Roman amphitheatre is in very average condition — read: rather ruined — but thanks to Damen Allen Davison at the University of Köln, I have an unusual surprise for you here.

[ 1 page, 2 photos ]

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The so‑called Arch of Germanicus is in much better shape, even if it's been moved around over the years.

[ 11/20/99: for now just 1 raw photograph ]

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Sir Thomas Browne, one of the great prose writers of modern English (to whom we owe the coining of such words as "consideration" and "electricity", by the way) traveled thru Saintes in 1662, when the city's monuments were in somewhat better shape. Here is his account of that visit.

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Page updated: 20 Apr 00