I don’t want to bore you with stories of another medieval hill town or tales of wine, but on our ladies road trip, we fell in love with Saint-Emilion and I can’t help but wax rhapsodic about it. It is a gorgeous medieval hill town made of limestone quarried locally.
Around 5,400 hectares of vineyards and many small châteaux surround it. Saint-Emilion has all the accoutrements you expect in a cute french hill town, inviting squares, cute shops, cobblestones, music wafting through the air, flowers, fountains, light blue shutters that look great against the limestone…you get the idea. If I haven’t already convinced you to endure one more hill town post, that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site probably won’t sway you either.
Saint-Emilion has been located on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela since the 11th century. As a result, many churches, monasteries and hospices were built there. We’d heard that the bell tower of the St. Emilion Monolithic Church had the best view of the city and it was worth making the climb up the ancient winding stairs to the top of the tower. We paid a Euro or two each and grabbed the key from the Office of Tourism across the way.
The bell tower was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Not long after that, people started carving their names and dates into it. I’m a sucker for ancient graffiti. I loved searching for it and reading it. The best part though was the view. Heaven.
Unfortunately our, ahem, transportation challenges (broken clutch) prevented us from having more time to tour Saint-Emilion. I’d hoped to see the vast limestone catacombs located under the city that contain Europe’s largest underground church. They are supposed to be amazing.
Fortunately, we still had time to check out the romanesque church and cloister, shop for antiques (you know I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to poke around this cute store), have a nice meal, listen to some street musicians, stroll the streets and catch one heck of a sunset. Not too shabby.
- A Most Excellent Day Touring Bordeaux Wineries (schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com)