This beautiful medieval city was founded in the 8th century, by a monk: Emilion. Other men united with him and founded the current city.
My visit to the village remains engraved in my memory. And it is often curiosity who leads me in these first exploration steps. You can discover multiple aspects of the village: the harmony of its buildings which form a magical contrast with the vineyards and narrow streets of the Saint Emilion area, its shaded plots bordered by restaurants, cafes and charming churches. The place is well known for the best wines around the world without any doubt.
I invite you to stroll on its fairy tale area on foot or by bike and to enjoy this incomparable beauty which is suitable for daydream and Christmas time 🙂
It is located 40 minutes by train outside Bordeaux. You arrive at the train station and the village it’s just 20 minutes walk through picturesque vineyards and views. We reach very early morning to avoid the crowds – I personally prefer the early morning photo shoot. It’s worth to mention that this village gets really overcrowded during weekends and holidays. In addition, if you travel by car you can visit the numerous castles around the village in which you can book a tour through a phone arrangement. (You can find all the information in the tourist office).
Saint Emilion Walk
The majority of the shops, cafes, museums open after 10.00am. Regarding restaurants…it depends – some of them open from 12.00-2.00 and 7.00-10.00pm. During Mondays, a lot of them are closed, as you may understand we visited the village during Monday. It happens we just forgot that it was Monday! But this did not obstruct us to have an amazing day! 🙂
The visit will take you from catacombs to the chapel of the church, to reach the majestic bell tower of 68 meters, to enjoy one of the panoramic views of Saint Emilion. The construction of the church dates from the end of the 11th century and from the beginning of the 12th century. Before that, prepare yourself to climb some 196 steps leading to the bell tower.
Your first stop shall be in the Tourist office which located in the centre of the village and the lovely ladies will provide you with a map of the area showing the main attractions and castles around, plus information about guided tours, wine classes, wine tasting, places to eat and sleep. From there you can buy your ticket also for the access to the Monolithic church and its Catacombs. Please note that the Church visit including catacombs are not accessible without a ticket. The guide only has the keys, opens the doors of the Church and delivers their secrets. Do not miss it! 🙂
We start our sightseeing in the Monolithic church which externally looks small but you will not believe it’s size as soon as you step inside! It lays beside a small yard with charming cafes.
We continue our stroll to the Bell tower which at that moment was closed but we manage to reach the top of the village and admire its breathtaking views.
Step by Step
If you travel by car there is another village entrance, on the back side named “La Porte Brunet”. From there, you can have some amazing panoramic village views also.
Our steps lead to a wide range of artistic shops, vintage cafes and restaurants, patisseries, castles and numerous wine shops.
If you can’t carry your favourite wine collection with you, do not worry. Most of the shops offer postal delivery to European countries and abroad. We visited a Chateau where we tried some of the best wines around the world. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed. A wine tasting in Saint Emilion is a unique experience that should not be missed!
A visit in a French village can not be completed without the specialists of Macaron Patisseries which offer some of the most delicious treats! We have tried a few of them and my favourite one is the shop of “Fabrique De Macarons”. The shop offers a wide collection of handmade chocolates and macarons with free tasting. Can’t be better than that! 🙂
Several hours of exploring and drinking wine and we are very hungry. Having already enough with French cuisine we wanted to try something different…Vietnamese cuisine in the for the first time and from that day it is one of my favourite cuisines! With a walking distance from the centre, it is a must in Saint Emilion, thanks to the delicious food offered, its name “Cafe Saigon”. My plate was an explosion of all senses and without any exaggeration, it was the BEST SOUP I EVER TRIED. A hot soup with glass noodles, shrimps, onions, peanuts, a touch of mint and a few more ingredients which I am not aware of.For dessert, we have coconut ice cream with mango soup, garnished with passion fruit. I can not emphasise enough, how good it is! A very nice restaurant, with affordable prices, excellent service and charming welcome.
It’s getting cold and dark…it’s time to walk back to the train station. As night falls, makes our walking journey through the vineyards even more enjoyable. I feel peace and totally satisfied with our visit. What a beautiful place! As you will have understood here is the ideal place to be – for wine lovers, desserts lovers, chateau lovers, nature lovers and even for romantic escapes. 🙂
Things to do in Saint Emilion:
- Monolithic church – Price: 8 Euro, only guided, photos are not allowed, you can purchase your tickets from the Tourist office.
- Wine Tour – Price: 10 Euro, from April to November. It offers a unique panoramic visit in one of the largest vineyards in the world, on a convertible bus.
- Chateau Cardinal, Chateau Corbin-Michotte, Chateau Fonplegade and much more! (Tours and communication numbers through Tourist Office)
- Bell tower
- There is a Tuk Tuk service which travels you around the village for the best views and sightseeings.
- For more, you can visit the official village’s website here: http://www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com/uk/3-what-to-do.html