A trip to Saintonge Dorée
In the heart of Saintonge Dorée, Saint-Jean-d’Angély awaits you on the Camino de Santiago. From the Le Pilori Fountain to the clock tower, the historic city unfolds along narrow winding streets, where half-timbered houses dating back to the Middle Ages jostle with private mansions. The city is home to a magnificent abbey, built to accommodate the skull of St John the Baptist. Today, this royal abbey is the cultural heart of the town. From the tops of the towers, you can admire the view across the Saintonge area, which is bathed in gold by the late afternoon sun.
The rolling green countryside of the surrounding area is ideal for nice walks and fishing on the Boutonne. Another stop on the pilgrim’s route is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Aulnay-de-Saintonge – a must for connoisseurs of Romanesque art. Don’t miss your chance to take in the remarkable sculptures at Saint-Pierre Church, considered to be one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in France. Behind the church, you can enjoy walks in the medieval-inspired gardens. If you have children with you, take the path from Dampierre-sur-Boutonne to the Asinerie du Baudet du Poitou, a nature reserve devoted to protecting local breeds of donkeys. When the sun illuminates the remarkable Romanesque heritage of Saintonge Dorée, the vineyards around Matha are made particularly beautiful. There are lots of great places that promise to immerse you in the magical world of Cognac. The Ecomusée du Cognac in Migron traces the incredible journey of this famous spirit and includes a visit to an old distillery and the unusual chance to sample a range of fragrances. At the Cep Enchanté in Macqueville, the whole family can enjoy wandering among the vines.
In Matha, the magic of the vineyards meets the exoticism of the Bambouseraie with its many types of bamboo and tropical flowers. From churches to châteaux, bucolic countryside to rows of vines, Saintonge Dorée lends itself brilliantly to relaxing holidays. The Charente winds its way through the area. In one of its loops is Saint-Savinien-sur-Charente, a popular river stop for boaters and a charming place to break up your stay. The Petite Cité de Caractère (Small Town of Character) has artists’ ateliers, as well as the miniature port on Île de la Grenouillette… So what kinds of things are there to see and do in and around Saint-Jean-d’Angély? There are endless discoveries to be made!