While spending time in the French countryside staying in Beauvoir sur Niort with friends from France, I took a daytrip to Saintes. An easy 50 minute drive closer to La Rochelle, it was a French town that I had never been to, yet found myself eager to explore. My cousin had recommended it as she had traveled there with her mom this past summer and really enjoyed it.
Naturally the weather was overcast and it began raining quite hard when I first started walking around the town. I sought refuge in the car I was borrowing for a few minutes and drove to a parking area closer to the center of town. The rain cleared up and I made the most of the afternoon by walking around, window shopping, photographing French architecture and of course stopping for pain au chocolat and a latte.
I found Saintes to be quaint, charming and full of beauty. I took my time stopping into various stores here and there and admiring the buildings and architecture. Once the rain let up I sat outside at a small cafe and enjoyed a vanilla latte. One of the things that is really nice about exploring new cities while being out of the country, is that I find myself very present in the moment as I rely solely on wifi to utilize my phone. Although I don’t find myself as someone who is as completely phone obsessed as others, I do spend a lot of time on my phone especially in this technologically fueled world we live in today and my ability to check work emails and update social media for my job from my phone.
When I travel alone I truly find myself enjoying that lack of connection and ability to fully immerse myself in the place I’m currently in and the culture behind it. It’s nice to take time to unplug and enjoy small moments as they happen. I love France’s cobblestone streets and not knowing what unique building or chic boutique I am going to find around the next turn. I also have a full blown obsession with pain au chocolat and I am not afraid to admit it so I love trying ones from different boulangeries around France. To this day the best pain au chocolat I have ever tasted was in Saintes, but sadly I ate it before ever capturing it on film.
If you find yourself traveling in France and have the time to head to the countryside I highly recommend trips to Saintes as well as La Rochelle and Bordeaux, which are all relatively close to one another. From where I am staying I can drive to Saintes in 50 minutes, La Rochelle in an hour and Bordeaux in two hours. These make for excellent daytrips when I find myself with a day to spare.