Saint-Saloine Baths

The baths, a new lifestyle!

During the Roman era, baths played a leading role in social life, and many cities and towns had their own. In Saintes, there were three known complexes, including the Saint-Saloine Baths.

Thermes romains Saintes

The baths symbolized a new lifestyle, inherited from the Greeks, combining hygiene, relaxation and social life. Libraries, shops and relaxation areas could be found nearby or even inside a bathing complex!

You started by undressing. You then entered the baths with only a towel, some oil and possibly a sponge and a strigil (a curved body scraper). You covered your body with oil and did a little sport. Then, you headed to the caldarium (a hot, humid room) to sweat.

Thermes romains Saintes

You took a seat in that room around the labrum (basin). You coated yourself with oil and then spritzed yourself with boiling water whilst removing your perspiration with your strigil. Next, you moved on to the tepidarium (the warm room), where you could get a massage.

Il faut commencer par se dévêtir : ici on ne garde qu'une serviette, de l’huile, éventuellement une éponge et un strigile (racloir recourbé). On s’enduit le corps d'huile et on pratique un peu de sport. Puis direction le caldarium (pièce chaude et humide) pour suer.

You ended in the frigidarium (the cold room) to close your pores. Once you were clean and relaxed, you could go to the library, wander through the gardens or enjoy one of the lounge rooms. Effective, right?

Thermes romains

The Saint-Saloine Baths were built toward the end of the 1st century. They covered 8,000 m2. Only the southeastern third remains today. Excavating the ruins revealed part of the hot bath (caldarium) section, framed by a retaining wall featuring characteristic niches.


Thermes de Saint-Saloine

Thermes de Saint-Saloine de Saintes, Impasse des Thermes, Saintes, France