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Between a standing stone and the Dordogne…
Presentation of the municipality
Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens is a town situated along the Dordogne for about 10 kilometers, and belonging to the Canton Coteaux de Dordogne. One of eight town forming part of the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion, listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1999 for its historical vineyard landscape. Its area is 1,817 hectares and its located 5 kilometers from Saint-Emilion. The town now has 1,456 inhabitants, called the Saint-Sulpiciens.
A bit of history…
Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens is named after the eponymous saint and a tribute to a 7th century Bishop. It is also comming from Faleiro, faleyre in Occitan, "fern". This reference to the fern is due to the towns once wild woodland where the plant was found in abundance and the first drinking glasses were made using fern ashes.
The presence of a menhir near the port of Pierrefitte attests to land occupation from the Neolithic time, around 4,000 years ago.
The village's history is closely linked to that of Chateau Lescours’, where the French king, Henry of Navarre, took refuge in the 16th century. Legend has it that Louis XIV took refuge there too.
Also, the dock of the village became the port of Saint-Emilion from where wine barrels were exported to Rome or London, via Bordeaux.
The town hosts one of the oldest human testimonies of occupation of the Jurisdiction: the menhir of Peyrefitte (from about minus 4,000 years BC), which is the largest of Aquitaine, and was listed as historical monument in 1889. For thousands of years, for the summer soltice, people gather and celebrate around the menhir; the tradition continues today and is very popular among locals.
A water-rich natural heritage
Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens is a town situated on the edge of the Dordogne (listed as World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO) for about 10 kilometers.
The town is also crossed by about 600 meters of water courses, mainly consisting of the Langrane Creek.
The main activity of the town is related to viticulture. The northeast part of the town is occupied by vineyards producing wines from the appellation Saint-Émilion AOC and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. One can also find vineyards producing Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wines.
More information on the vineyard of Saint-Emilion here.
Points of interest:
The landscape and the land of the parish are favorable for the discovery of fauna and flora and make for the perfect location for cycle rides or walks.
By bike, Saint-Emilion Tourism has completed several routes through Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens (available to download here (Between vine and Dordogne, Tour of the Great Saint-Emilion, the Dordogne Valley and its vineyards).
The Pierrefitte menhir, the famous megalith of Pierrefitte lies in the Dordogne Valley, along the road to Libourne from Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens. Unlike other megaliths recorded in France it is carved. It is a monolithic block, which is the result of a huge collective work of Neolithic populations. The builders of this impressive rock probably took it to its current location from a limestone quarry. Its imposing size - 5.20 m height, 3 m maximum width, 1.50 m thick and has a weight of approximately 50 tonnes - make it the largest menhir of Gironde, but also of Southwest France. It represents a right hand with perfect proportions. The limestone is worn on the wrist because many pilgrims came to rub the stone for protection. It is difficult to date this megalith. But it can be estimated to date back from the late Neolithic times (2600-2300 BC).
The Romanesque church of Saint-Sulpice built between the 11th and 12th centuries, was built with stones and its apse was registered in 1925 as a listed historical monument.
The prestigious chateaux have their story linked to the history of the town: Chateau Lescours, Le Castellot or Monbousquet.
Saint-Martial fountain holds according to legend, a cure for ailments of eyes. It is fed by a spring of the same name. initially, it was set as a sanctuary for the pilgrims to the menhir of Pierrefite nearby, and they were able to take advantage of its benefits. The fountain is still preserved today.
Inhabitants celebrate the Pierrefitte menhir every summer solstice. According to belief, the "standing stone" was erected to ensure happiness and prosperity. Thus, young people went there to bless their love. The community life of the town is quite dynamic and many events are organized every year.