The medieval village of Saint Emilion is best known for the full-bodied, deeply colored red wine produced there. It’s easily one of the most attractive wine towns in the region and attracts millions of wine tourists each year.
Several of the local Châteaux welcome tourists for a guided visit and tasting. You can ask for details at the Saint Emilion tourist office. A rough guide to the Saint-Emilion wines is as follows – the best are the Premier Grand Cru Classées (however, these will set you back a few hundred euros), next best are the Grand Cru Classées and then the Grand Crus.
The village, and surrounding vineyards, are UNESCO world heritage protected.
However, Saint-Emilion isn’t just about wine! It’s also an exceptionally lovely village. The town’s history dates back almost 2,000 years when the Romans planted vineyards there in the 2nd century AD. It features multiple historical monuments including the Cordeliers Cloister, the 13th-Century Roy Tower and the impressive Monolithic Church.
Make sure to stay through the early evening, it’s truly a beautiful sight when the sun sets over the valley with halo-like golden hues that shine around the limestone buildings.
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Prepare your visit to Saint Emilion
When to visit Saint Emilion
The weather is best from June to August. This is also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices! The spring and fall are also nice times to visit, with fewer tourists and lower prices. September is grape harvesting season, so wineries are often busy with the harvest!
How long is needed to visit Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion is the ideal town for a day trip. You’ll have enough time to walk around the medieval village, see all of the world heritage sights and sample some of the local cuisine or wine. It’s also a great option to spend the night if you are touring the Bordeaux area. Arrive in the afternoon, tour the village and spend the night in one of the town’s hotels.
What should I wear to visit Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion is a rather casual place, simply dress for the season. If you plan on touring nearby wineries, you might decide on a dressier look. Even if you’re visiting in the summer, we recommend bringing a sweater if doing a wine tour, the cellars are quite cool.
What is there to see in Saint Emilion
Within the ruins of a 14th-century Franciscan monastery, one of the town’s most picturesque and emblematic sites, the Les Cordeliers winery has made their home here. They produce a sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux wine that has been made there for over a century. Guided tours and tastings are available daily. Admission to the ruins and gardens is free.
The Saint Emilion Church
Constructed in the early 12th century, it’s hard to miss the dramatic Monolithic Saint Emilion Church. The church’s bell tower rises 53 meters above the ground and has been a notable landmark for centuries. We recommend a guided tour of the church to learn about its unique architecture and discover the underground portion of the bell tower.
La Tour du Roy
The impressive stone square keep, la Tour du Roy, is all that remains of a king’s formerly grand castle. The castle dates back to the 13th century and is the only Romanesque keep still intact in the Gironde region. The splendid views of the city are well worth the 118 steps to the top!