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Saintes is on the banks of the Charente River, in a flat area not far from several mountains. The river's large flood plain suitable for growing crops extends to Saint-Jean-d'Angély to north and Montignac, Vienne and Pons south. To the east is the mountainous landscape of Forest of Tronçais (fr). The city was built on a hill between two rivers that flow through it. These rivers separate it from three surrounding valleys: In addition to its two subprefectures (Saintes and Fontenay), Saintes has one canton: Canton de la Vallée de l'Homme ().