Roman Amphitheatre of Saintes

Saintes, France

The Santones tribe lived in the Saintonge (today Saintes) region at the time of the Gauls. During the reign of the Emperor Augustus, Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) became the capital of the Roman province of Aquitania. Mediolanum was one of the first towns to have an amphitheatre, which was constructed during the reign of the Emperor Claudius in 40 to 50 A.D.

Like many amphitheatres in the Roman Empire, that of Saintes was built on the outskirts of the town on a site that is today called the ‘Vallon des Arènes’ (Small valley of the amphitheatre). lts builders took advantage of the local topography to construct part of the amphitheatre

The amphitheatre’s function was to seat the large number of spectators who came to watch such violent and bloodthirsty events as gladiatorial combats and wild animal hunts. Within this large elliptical structure, which is 126 metres long and 102 metres wide, several thousand people – a large part of the local population – couId be seated.

Today, in spite of the disappearance of its superstructures, the remains give an extremely good idea of what this amphitheatre looked like at its peak. The site is now open for visitors to discover throughout the year.



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Founded: 40-50 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)


4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cary Mcwhorter (7 months ago)
The construction is significant and it feels as though they're making it a bit too much like an amusement park, but hopefully when they're done there will be more education. We declined to pay and simply enjoyed from outside.
Jane Etherton dite Madame Thermomix (7 months ago)
The Gallo-Roman amphitheatre of Saintes is an amazing remnant of our long ago past. We rented the audio guides (available in English and French) and spent a fascinating 45 minutes immersing ourselves in history and architecture. Don't miss the photo exhibition on the outer wall; just follow the green line around to the back of the Accueil building. It shows photos of all the phases of the amphitheatre for the last 200 or 300 years. There is an ingenious picnic table to enable someone in a wheelchair to pull up under the top and enjoy a meal at a table. Brilliant idea.
Lucia Palmer (8 months ago)
Brill a couple of hrs spent looking around this romain amphitheatre. And it's renovation .eell worth the visit as there's other sites around sainte to see .
Badvoc Zero (9 months ago)
Well worth a visit, currently being restored/conserved so access is limited but still impressive.
Poppy Mills (2 years ago)
So gorgeous! The fares to get in are so cheap I couldn’t believe it and although the monument is currently undergoing reconstruction, this doesn’t take away from its impressive features and intriguing history. If you haven’t been before I would definitely recommend for all ages- definitely better on a sunny day though as a party from the cafe and gift shop all is outdoors!
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