Saint Emilion is a charming, medieval city situated on the right bank of the Dordogne River. Nestled in the heart of the Bordeaux wine-making country, it is the perfect one-day getaway. In Saint Emilion, you can experience many different activities: wine tasting, a historical city tour and many amazing photo opportunities. There are many reasons why you should visit Saint-Emilion
We are here to help you find the easiest and most convenient way to get to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux for you.
Don’t hesitate to check our: A Guide to Saint Emilion From a Tour Guide (coming soon)
So how do you get to Saint Emilion? There are a few options, depending on your preferences and/or budget, with pros and cons.
So there you go, you can ….
Get to Saint Emilion by Car
Saint-Émilion is located just over an hour’s drive from Bordeaux (50km or 31 miles). Renting a car or using your own is a convenient and flexible way to get there. Take the toll-free highway №89, direction Libourne (put on some Waze it will be super easy !).
Tip: Keep in mind that traffic jams are quite common on the bypass going all the way around Bordeaux (it’s called “la rocade” in French: if you stay here a bit, you’ll learn to hate it as much as us !). Try to avoid rush hours in the morning (between 8 am and 10 am) and in the evening (from 5 am to 7 am.)
Total cost of a 2 way trip by car: 40€ (about 10€ of gas + 30€ for parking)
- You are fully independent
- Dependent on traffic (usually takes 1h, can easily go up to 1h30)
- Finding a parking spot is hell and expensive (both in Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion, about 30€ for a day)
Get to Saint Emilion by Bus
It is pretty easy to get to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux by bus. The cost of the ticket (one way) is 2.30 euros which makes it the cheapest option possible! Most of the buses are brand new with pretty decent comfort level.
The departure is at Place des Quinconces (at this specific stop), in the city centre. There you have to take bus line №304 (to Libourne/Saint-Emilion).
You can buy your tickets directly from the bus driver.
Here’s the schedule (valid until 31/08/2023) (and here’s the link to the latest pdf available)
Tip: Keep in mind that it runs only during the tourist season. The convenience of the bus though is that it will stop right in the centre of Saint Emilion.
Beware though! There are been some (although rare) complaints that the bus didn’t show up despite people waiting there for 20 minutes in Saint-Emilion. It is an extremely rare occurrence but can feel like you are stranded there. Do not worry: if that’s the case, you will still have the fallback solution of taking the train, the subject of the next part of our article.
Total cost of a 2-way trip by bus: 4.60€/person (cheapest option !)
- The cheapest option by far on this list
- You don’t have to drive, and the bus are comfortable
- Sometimes, the bus doesn’t come
- Can get stuck in traffic anywhere (especially when getting to Bordeaux with the 6 pm bus)
- Limited spots… As it has a maximum limit of 50 passengers, in the high peak of the touristic season, it potentially can be full
Get to Saint Emilion by Train
You can also take a train from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. The train departure is either from Cenon Gare (accessible with Tram Line A) or Gare Saint-Jean in Bordeaux. The line is Bordeaux- Sarlat and goes through a couple of stops including Libourne and Saint Emilion.
You can book a ticket on this (very impractical) website: SNCF Connect
Tip: The stops are always announced on approach and there is a display in plain sight. In case the system is not working don’t hesitate to ask the controller or other people where to get off. The train stops only for about one or two minutes at the Saint-Emilion train station so be quick to get out.
Tip: The price of the ticket for the train is 10€ online, but the price goes up by 50% if you buy it on the train. And buy a two-way ticket if you are going back to Bordeaux as there is no ticket-selling machine at the Saint-Emilion station.
Tip: Make sure there are no strikes. This one can sound a bit strange, but you don’t want to end up stranded if the train back to Bordeaux never arrives. Strikes are pretty common in France (no way ?!). They will never be unexpected but announced weeks before.
Tip: A walk to remember. The station is about 20 minutes walking distance away from Saint-Emilion. Keep in mind that in summer heatwaves are common here to 48°C (120°F) and regular temps are commonly around 42°C (107°F). Also, the walk from the station to the city is pretty steep…
Total cost of a 2-way trip by train: about 20€/person
- Fast, non-dependant on traffic (36 min trip against 1h-1h30 with a car…)
- If there’s a train breakdown, it will be replaced by a bus (it won’t just be cancelled)
- The station is far removed from the city (~20 minutes walk)
- Pretty expensive option
- Strikes can happen, trains can break down…
- Can be a bit overcrowded sometimes in summer (many passengers chose to take the train)
Get there by Taxi / Private Driver
Keep in mind that taking a taxi here can be pretty expensive. You can take an UBER in Bordeaux but it won’t work in Saint Emilion: the driver will drop you there and go back to Bordeaux. You will be VERY lucky if you find a taxi/uber in Saint-Emilion.
The Tourist Office does provide a list of taxies on their website: Link
Tip: Ask for the prices in advance. Taxis are mandated by the state to work with a meter. As a rough estimate, going from Bordeaux Center to Saint-Emilion should cost around 150€ (one-way trip).
But beware! It will be easy to find a taxi in Bordeaux… not so much in Saint-Emilion (there are no taxi companies there). So if you come with a taxi, make arrangements with your driver to have him pick you up at the desired time! Otherwise, you will find yourself stranded and will have to resort to another means of transportation.
Total Cost of the 2-way trip : ~300€ total
- Comfort of a private ride
- Don’t have to drive, don’t have to park
- Most expensive option by far
- There are no taxis in Saint-Emilion to drive you back to Bordeaux (if you don’t make arrangments with the driver prior to your trip)
No matter which transportation option you choose, getting to Saint-Émilion is an easy and enjoyable experience. Whether you prefer the convenience of a car or the adventure of taking the train, there’s a way to get to this charming town that’s right for you. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Saint-Émilion today and discover all that this beautiful region has to offer.
And once you’re there… why not participate in a guided tour?
Bordeaux Uncovered is actually a company doing guided tours in Saint-Emilion and offers guided tours of the city! Truly the best way to visit Saint Emilion. Check our tours out!
Do you want a more comprehensive guide with photos and videos on how to get from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion?