Driving into Saintes turned out to be easier than many French towns of similar size. No Medieval streets to navigate and there was a convenient public parking lot just a block away. Our B&B also had a view over the River Charente across the street. It was really hot though. Must have been mid-nineties that day and we nearly collapsed after hauling our luggage the whole block and then up the steps to our room.
Our B&B, Le Chambre d’Hotes La Rotonde, was a very nice older stone house. There was no air conditioning during our visit, but they provided a fan and there were windows to open.
On our second day, we also had a view over the river. Through a “mix-up”, our reserved room for which we had paid a small extra amount for a superior room with a view had been given to someone else, which left us to spend one of our two nights in a standard room with no view. This is something that does seem to happen at least once or twice each trip and appears to be the cost of staying in small, non commercial hotels. Despite that downer the second day made up for it. Breakfast was old style French with really great products but no hot food.
Getting out of our little room the first day, we visited the Cathedral of Saint Peter. Interesting for its history of being burned by the Protestants during the Wars of religion. The vaults were never replaced. Of course some part of this church is a remnant of an ancient Cluniac Abbey itself seized by the state from the Monks. The cloister and one transept arm remain from earlier happier days.
The river with barges moored along the sides invites us to wander one of the many French waterways.