L’Arc de Germanicus

Welcome! This is my new blog dedicated to the Arc de Germanicus. The Gallo-Roman stone edifice will be 2000 years old in 2018, at which time the City of Saintes, the arches’ birthplace and hometown for all these years, will commence a year-long period of celebration.

For roughly three years now, minus extensive travel, we have lived opposite this majestic landmark. Most days during our tenure, I have taken at least one picture of the arch, on some days many, many more. In the morning, when I step up to the window with my first cup of coffee, I check on the Arch – as if something might have happened to it overnight! My last glimpse out the window goes toward the arch before I turn off the lights in the living room and climb up the stairs to our bedroom which has, naturally, windows overlooking the Arch. One might deduce I suffer from a certain preoccupation with the Arc de Germanicus.

Our home on the left bank, the arch directly opposite on the right bank.

The Arc de Germanicus has anchored our town in history more visibly than the other artifacts from Gallo-Roman times that can be found across Saintes. More so than les Arènes, the Roman amphitheater or les Thermes de Saint-Saloine, the Roman baths or the remainder of Roman ramparts which can be seen right behind our house. 2000 years ago, Mediolanum Santonum was the Capital of the Roman province Gallia Aquitania, and it was here that the formidable arch signaled the terminus of the Roman trade route from Lyon to the Atlantic coast, the Via Agrippa. In our time and age, the town is called Saintes and its former political and spiritual might has been ceded to La Rochelle a long time ago, but thanks to the recent administrative reforms we are again in the Aquitaine region, called Nouvelle Aquitaine this time around.

Through two millennia, the lights and shadows of sunsets and moonrises washed over the stoic monument,



often creating dramatic scenes for the beholder.


I am looking forward to telling you stories about the arch and its history, highlighted by some of the pictures I’ve taken. When I heard of the upcoming celebrations planned by the city, I wanted to show my devotion to this revered Roman veteran by contributing an Arch-in-Pictures project:

2000 Years – 2000 Pictures


Let’s see if we can achieve this goal!

Most of my pictures were taken from the right-hand window in the premier étage of the little house across the Charente river which is framed inside the right arch, as seen above.


This picture, taken on Tuesday, December 12 at 08 h 12, is a farewell shot of the river cruise boot “Bernard Palissy II”. Later that day, while we were in Cognac, she was transferred to drydock for the winter. She will, however, not return to her customary mooring beneath the Arc in the next season. Her replacement, the “Bernard Palissy III” is under construction right now. She will be a streamlined, slick, contemporary riverboat and, most importantly, the Palissy 3 will be a more environmentally friendly electric vessel powered by batteries charged through solar panels. No more stinky exhaust clouds hovering over the river! And the arch will watch over its newest summer companion as always. The Palissy 2 is for sale, should you be interested. Btw, did you notice the cormorant getting ready to dive for his breakfast?

À bientôt !

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