There’s a reason why people visit Saint-Emilion. And it’s not all about wine…
It all started around 30 million years ago when the vast ocean covering this land retracted. The sediments and marine life left behind by the salty water formed a massive Asteria limestone plateau that dominates the Dordogne valley (the name comes from the starfish.) Saint Emilion is located on the right bank of the river, only a 50-minute car ride from Bordeaux or 35 min by train. Saint Emilion benefits from its microclimate (hot, dry summers and rainfall throughout the year.) This allows the grapes here to ripen gradually and in combination with the soil produce outstanding wines.
It is not all about wine, there is so much history here
In addition to its wine-making history, Saint-Émilion is also known for its beautiful medieval architecture and rich cultural heritage. The town is home to many historic buildings, most notably the Monolithic Church
Even though the city of Saint Emilion was non-existent before the 8th century, the area around Saint Emilion bares evidence of life dating back to 14.000 years ago. Celtic tribes and later Romans also left traces of their existence behind. In the 8th century, a benedictine monk named Emilion came here for reasons unknown and settled in one of the many natural caves, becoming a hermit. Soon the miracles performed by this humble monk from Britany attracted more people to the area. It was not until the 12th century however that Saint Emilion become a city of big historical, religious and commercial importance. Nestled between the two main roads that lead to Galicia in Spain, Saint Emilion became a secondary road leading to Santiago de Compostella. The carving of the monolithic church of Saint Emilion made sure that the detour of the pilgrims will not go unjustified. Many monasteries were built here during the middle ages and many religious communities settled inside and around the city walls.
Saint Emilion has a rich and diverse history that is worth exploring in detail. If you want to know more about what to visit in Saint Emilion (coming soon)
The world-renowned city of wine and food
The first vineyards were planted here by the Romans, however, it wasn’t until the 8th century that the town of Saint-Émilion began to develop as a centre of wine production. The monks began making wine and over time, the town became renowned for the alcoholic, red drink. The wine produced in the Saint-Émilion region are always red and from a blend of grapes – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are known for their full-bodied flavour, with notes of black fruit, spice, and earth. The region’s terroir, which includes a combination of soil types, climate, and topography, plays a significant role in the flavour and quality of the wines. Saint Emilion is known for producing some of the most outstanding red wines worldwide. The best season to visit the town is during the harvest season between September and October. You can witness the winemaking process and even participate in it yourself at curtain wineries. There are more than 1000 chateaux, situated outside of the city walls, most of which propose guided visits and tastings with or without reservation. If that’s not a reason enough to visit Saint-Emilion…
If you want to learn how to choose which chateaux in Saint Emilion to visit (coming soon)
In Saint Emilion, you can also find several Michelin-starred restaurants
Logis de la Cadène – modern cooking – 1-star MICHELIN
20223 place du Marché-au-Bois, 33330 Saint-Emilion
Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong Mondot – 1 star MICHELIN 2022
Lieu-dit Troplong-Mondot, 33330 Saint-Emilion
La Table de Pavie – 2 stars MICHELIN 2022
5 place du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Emilion
If you want to discover more about the local cuisine and where to eat (coming soon)
Saint Emilion is a stunning town, lost between the vineyards, beaming with history and charm. It is the best way to immerse yourselves in the french way of life, with a glass of wine and breathtaking views from the local landscape.