Saintes (săNt) [key], town (1990 pop. 27,546), Charente-Maritime dept., W France, on the Charente River. It is a market for grains, brandy, and leather; telecommunications equipment is manufactured. The town, probably the capital of the Celtic Santones and later occupied by the Romans, was the capital of old Saintonge. Louis IX defeated Henry III of England there in 1242. In Saintes are the ruins of a Roman amphitheater and triumphal arch and the two partially restored Romanesque churches of St. Europe (11th–12th cent.).