Places to visit − Saint Émilion

Charente gites - St Emilion by the church

St. Emilion is a beautiful medieval town built on the slopes of a limestone plateau overlooking the Dordogne Valley. With steep hilly cobbled streets running through ancient limestone buildings. The 13th century walls and winding ramparts remain, enclosing densely rowed caves (wine merchants) that offer a taste of the valley's finest wines.

The town and surrounding vineyards are a UNESCO world heritage site

The town derives its name from the hermit Emilion who lived there in the 8th century. Emilion carved out a cave for himself in the limestone and a monastery followed.

The 12th Century belfry rises above a rocky spur encrusted with catacombs, a hermitage, a chapel and an underground church.

An absolute Mecca for any wine fan, the home of the most ancient and famous French red wine, the birthplace of the wine making industry.

The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Emilion as early as the 2nd century. In the 4th century, the Latin poet Ausonius lauded the fruit of the bountiful vine.

Chateaux after Chateaux line the green and rolling roadsides. Ausone, Angelus, Beauséjour-Bécot, Bélair, Canon, Cheval Blanc, Trottevieille, Figeac & Clos Fourtet are all to be found here.

For extra bonus wine-buff points - You drive right through the Pomerol Appellation on the way there, so you could pop into Gordon Ramsey's much loved Pétrus and buy a couple of cases*

*in your dreams, not likely to happen any time soon, although there are lots of really good Pomerols available to buy direct from the chateaux at not−quite−such−funny−money prices.