Heritage & Tradition

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  • A SHORT HISTORY OF SAINT-ÉMILION

    A SHORT HISTORY OF SAINT-ÉMILION

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    More than 13 centuries of history                                                                            Saint-Émilion is a veritable outdoor museum, founded according to the legend by a modest hermit ... city full of history, perched on a rocky promontory, Saint-Emilion and its vineyard draw their originality from the limestone which offers an exceptional soil vineyards. In the 8th century, a Breton named Emilion, a native of Vannes and famous for its miracles, decided to leave his homeland to retire and devote himself to prayer. Along the Atlantic coast, he became a monk and then moved to Ascumbas, former name of the city of Saint-Emilion.                                                                       Joined by some Benedictines disciples, he founded the first religious community and evangelize the population; thus creating a large monastic city in which the faithful gave his name.                                                                       Several religious communities have lived for centuries in the village, attracted by the cult of Émilion as evidenced by the numerous monasteries, convents and churches still visible. Thus, between the 8th and 18th century, the Benedictines, Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans and sisters Ursulines coexisted or succeeded in the heart of the city.   The architectural frame of 8 towns forming the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion testifies, meanwhile, the constant evolution of the landscape and people: a religious heritage (churches, chapels, crosses), hundreds of wine chateaux, houses master, cellars, pigeon houses, windmills or laundries.   Thus the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion was listed as World Heritage World in 1999, the title of "Cultural Landscape". This was the first vineyard classified in the world.
  • THE MONK ÉMILION

    THE MONK ÉMILION

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    Émilion: monk founder of a world famous city   In the 8th century, a Breton named Émilion born in Vannes and famous for his miracles, decided to leave his homeland to retire and dedicate himself to prayer. Along the Atlantic coast, he became a monk and then moved to Ascumbas, former name of the city of Saint-Émilion.   Joined by a few Benedictine followers, he founded the first religious community and evangelized the population, creating a large monastic town, to which worshippers later gave his name.   The holy man probably died around the year 767, after spending the last seventeen years of his life in his hermitage, a simple cave around which the village was built.   The numerous monasteries, convents and churches still present in the region show that many religious communities settled in the village over the centuries. They were attracted by the cult of Émilion. Thus, between the 8th and the 18th century, Bene- dictines, Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans and Ursuline nuns lived together or followed one another. They welcomed pilgrims of the monk Émilion and of Santiago de Compostela, St James’s Way being quite near the village.
  • THE JURADE

    THE JURADE

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    The Jurade, an ancient tradition still very much alive   The Jurade de Saint-Émilion, the appellation's vinous brotherhood, can trace its roots back to a royal charter issued in 1199 by John Lackland, King of England.   This granted economic, political, and legal rights to the jurats, or aldermen, of Saint-Émilion. These local notables and magistrates were empowered with the town's general administration.    In exchange for these rights, England was granted the "privilège des Vins de Saint-Émilion". This meant that English merchants had priority over everyone else with regard to buying the wines of Saint-Émilion. The Jurade's authority lasted until the French Revolution of 1789.   In 1948, several winegrowers resuscitated the Jurade in the form of a vinous brotherhood – a group of ambassadors to spread the good word about Saint-Émilion wines far and wide. They also swore to do their utmost to guarantee the authenticity and quality of Saint-Émilion wines.   The Jurade has done an excellent job of making Saint-Émilion better known. They also organise a Fête de Printemps (Spring Festival) in June and Ban des Vendanges (Vintage Festival) in September every year. At these times, members of the Jurade parade through the town in their traditional crimson robes reminiscent of the all-powerful aldermen of centuries past.
  • THE GASTRONOMY

    THE GASTRONOMY

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    Gastronomy: a local tradition   Our heritage and terroir have a huge influence over the local gastronomy. Wine also plays an important part in it. Thanks to this, great Chefs such as Philippe Etchebest have been practising here.   Currently, the Greater Saint-Émilion Area has three starred tables recorded: L’Hostellerie de Plaisance* and Les Belles Perdrix* in Saint-Émilion as well as L’Auberge Saint-Jean* in Saint-Jean-de-Blaignac!   The Dordogne river also influences the local cuisine. For instance, Sainte-Terre village is considered as the world’s capital of lamprey. This unusual animal, born 500 million years ago, has neither jaw, ventral fin nor scale. A taste treat for gourmets when stewed with wine and leeks!
  • MACARONS

    MACARONS

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    Macarons, a lasting gastronomic tradition   At the mention of the name of Saint Emilion, some will think of wine, but others will think of macarons!   This is actually another gourmet specialty of our city that is passed from generation to generation. A delicious recipe that dates back to 1620 when the Ursuline sisters established their monastery in Saint-Émilion. The macaroons recipe comes from the religious community of Ursulines Lacroix whose sister was the mother superior.   A remarkable recipe became a trademark   This recipe was saved after the French Revolution and was sent to the Goudichaud widow, mother of Madame Grandet. This is his eldest son, Joseph Grandet who inherit and which shall have the sole right to manufacture macaroons of Saint-Emilion with the recipe old religious of this community.   A reputation that goes back centuries   Already in the 19th century, the time of the Goudichaud widow, these macaroons were served for dessert meal which included wine from Saint-Emilion.   During the 1867 Universal Exhibition, the owners of the first branded vintages of this wine region organized a group exhibition and did accompany their shipments of wines many boxes of macaroons made with the recipe Goudichaud widow. They were offered to members of the tasting Jury and the many visitors to the exhibition, together with a glass of this precious nectar. This allowed better judge the value of these products and earned both be winning.   Macaroons often copied but never equaled   The reputation of these products is more to do and since no manufacturer has managed to achieve quality macaroons made with the recipe of the nuns of Saint-Emilion and which the undersigned is the sole possessor.   The reputation of these products is more to do and since no manufacturer has managed to achieve quality macaroons made with the recipe of the nuns of Saint-Emilion and which the undersigned is the sole possessor.
  • THE DORDOGNE RIVER : A SOURCE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

    THE DORDOGNE RIVER : A SOURCE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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    In the past, the Dordogne river was the only way to send foods and goods towards inner lands, but especially to Bordeaux port and the Atlantic coast.   When sailing up the Dordogne, the gabare sailors used the tides up to Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens. Then they had to call on ox-herders or haulers, men who pulled the boat along the towpaths that can still be seen today on the banks of the Dordogne river.   Gabares and courreaux were both flat-bottomed little boats used on the Middle and Lower Dordogne river. Since the Middle Ages, such boats were mainly used for the transportation of wine.   River transport on the Dordogne was progressively aban- doned with the opening of the railway line between Bordeaux and Bergerac in 1872 and the development of road trade.   Nowadays, the Lower Dordogne is also known for the formation of the mascaret. This sea-water wave runs up the Dordogne to the town of Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens and then dies in the villages of Vignonet and Sainte-Terre. This rare phenomenon in France is due to a sudden rise in the water level caused by the rising tide, particularly during the spring tides.
  • THE STONE OF SAINT-ÉMILION

    THE STONE OF SAINT-ÉMILION

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    Saint-Émilion stone, a luminous gift of nature   For nearly a thousand years, between the 9th and the 19th centuries, the number of stone quarries in the Saint-Émilion limestone plateau increased. Quarriers worked non-stop to extract millions of stone blocks for major construction sites in Saint-Émilion and Bordeaux.   This quarrying has left an immense 80-hectare network of under- ground galleries that form a gigantic maze nearly 200 km long. The stone, asteriated limestone, contains a great number of fossils. It dates from the Lower Oligocene period (32 million years ago) and gave birth to many monuments that can still be seen in Saint-Émilion.
  • SAINT-EMILIONS'S BABYS

    SAINT-EMILIONS'S BABYS

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    Little known to the general public, the Hermitage of Saint- Emilion, located under the Trinity Chapel near the Monolithic Church, is a magical place. In this cave that forms a natural shelter and with a source of fresh water, lies the chair or meditation seat of Saint-Emilion, where the monk of the same name was in the habit of praying.    Over the years and stories, this seat has been saddled with the name " Fertility Seat". Indeed, legend has it that a woman wishing to have a child only has to sit on this chair and pray Saint-Emilion to get pregnant whithin the year.    Simple myth say the skeptics !    Except that the Tourist Office receives each year tens of announcement of birth on the part of many women from around the world specifically to sit on this Fertility Seat !   In 2017, we were glad to get the birth anouncements of :  Frances Emilion Gabin Zoe Tiago Alexandre Jean Jules Arthur   In 2016, are delight to ear from new babies :  Vittoria Rosaria Emiliana (Born in 2012) Gäel Lucas Naël Sara   In 2015, we were happy to learn about the birth of : Léopold Noémie 2 Victor Romane Estelle Lili-Rose Anae Gabin Raphäel Jane   In 2014, were born after there moms sit on the Fertiliy Chair :  Ulysse Emilien Alizée Alix Gaël Enzo Lena Ellia Saverianna   In 2013, we were happy about the births of : Lena Darius Shiori Anna Inès
  • SAINTE-TERRE, CAPITAL OF THE SEA LAMPREY

    SAINTE-TERRE, CAPITAL OF THE SEA LAMPREY

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    Sainte-Terre, capital of the sea lamprey   The town of Sainte-Terre proclaimed itself the world Capital of the sea lamprey in 1990. It has chosen to celebrate this 450 million years oldaquatic animal and made it a study object and a opportunity to friendly and gastronomic meetings !   History On this county established along the Dordogne, fishing is a tradition that has continued until today. They fish sea lamprey, mainly. Some fishermen assure that Saint-Terre is the best place to fish sea lamprey, because it is at this level that the animal is at its best in his journey along the river.   This story is found on the coat of arms of Sainte-Terre with: the grape representing the vine, the sea lamprey reminding that the town is the capital of the sea lamprey, the barge alluding to the merchant shipping of the nineteenth century on the Dordogne and the scallop representing the location of Sainte-Terre on the way to Santiago de Compostela.     Sea Lamprey's Celebration Located along the Dordogne, Sainte-Terre organizes each year the famous Sea Lamprey's Celebration. Usually organized the last weekend of April by several associations of Sainte-Terre, this event aims to promote the gastronomic speciality recognized unanimously of the Sea Lamprey from Bordeaux. Participants may attend to inthronizations by the Brotherhood of the Sea Lamprey ; but also have lunch there, bargain-hunt in the large flea market, discover the crafts exhibitors, local produces exhibitors, flowers and local wines.   The Garden of the Sea Lamprey Opened in 2005, the botanical garden offers more than 400 species of waterside plants. An exhibit space and a showroom allow visitors to observe the sea lampreys in an aquarium, but also to buy living sea lampreys or conserves at the Tourist Office.