Presentation of the municipality
Saint-Emilion is a town belonging to the Canton of the Coteaux of Dordogne and part of 8 towns of the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion. It also belongs to the community of communes of the Greater Saint-Emilion Area. Located at 40 km north-east of Bordeaux and 8 km of Libourne, it stands on the hillside north of the Dordogne valley. The town now has 1994 inhabitants, including 200 intramural, called Saint-Emilionnais and Saint-Émilionnaises.
This is a historic village surrounded by vineyards, internationally renowned, visited by over a million tourists each year. It is part of the former Jurisdiction of Saint-Émilion, territory on the list of World Heritage Sites since 1999.
A bit of history…
Origin of the name
The name of the town of Saint-Emilion is from that of the Breton hermit Émilion that settled himself on the site in the 8th century. The coat of arms shows the arms of the city.
In the 8th century, a Benedictine monk from Brittany named Aemilianus set up his hermitage in a cave in the Ascumbas forest.
From the 9th to the 12th century, the catacombs and monolithic church were dug and a religious community settled under the rule of Saint-Benedict.
In 1152 the Aquitaine comes under the English domination, favoring substantially the growing of the vineyard and the trade of Claret wine.
In 1199, the bourgeois sign a charter John Lackland, King of England: the city gets from the king its autonomy under a dual administrative and civil guardianship: the Jurade. These new privileges will be confirmed in 1289 by Edward the 1st, King of England, which extends the powers of the Jurade the neighboring parishes which then form the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion.
From the 13th to the 16th century, while the troubles begin announcing the Hundred Years war, the construction of the fortifications continues. In 1237, construction of the tower of the King, which will serve as the city hall for the Jurade, certifies its Anglo-Norman style of the strong English influence in Guyenne.
Later, two religious communities previously established outside the city walls, settled Intramural: the Franciscans or Cordeliers and the Dominicans or Jacobins.
The city passed successively to the English crown to the French crown until the peace treaty signed in 1453 after the Battle of Castillon. But peace will be short, Religious Wars erupt from 1562 and these episodes have catastrophic consequences for the city and for its vineyards: the Protestant perpetrated two looting in 1580 and in 1589 which had resulted in the disappearance of the relics of Emilion.
The French Revolution destroyed the religious life and the depopulation of the city; degradation of monuments worsens, and in 1789 the Jurade is dissolved. In 1793, Elie Guadet, a "Girondins" deputy at the Convention, fled the Terror and returned to his hometown seeking asylum for himself and six of his fellow outlaws. They remained nine months in hiding before being executed.
The wine revolution began in the second half of the 18th century by owners of wineries open to new ideas and new techniques. In 1884, winegrowers of Saint-Émilion create the first winegrower union of France becoming the principal engine of exceptional quality policy on the vineyard since that day. It will lead to the establishment of the Saint Emilion controlled appellations production area in 1936, and the revival of the Jurade in 1948 as a brotherhood of wine whose role is to promote the wines of St. Emilion in the whole world.
The registration of the Saint Emilion Jurisdiction to World Heritage by UNESCO in 1999 as a cultural landscape brought the 8 towns that composed it to sign in 2001 a heritage charter which aims to implement a management plan of this landscape.
Natural heritage (...)
Saint-Émilion is crossed by several creeks : Taillas, Fongaband, Barbanne and the Dordogne river on about 11 kilometers.
The Saint-Emilion appellation represents 5400 hectares of vines and is divided into two controlled appellations: Saint-Emilion AOC and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. More information on the vineyard of Saint-Emilion here.
Points of interest:
The bell tower of the monolithic church, the King’s keep or the Brunet gate will offer magnificent views of the medieval city and the vineyard!
Several cycling and hiking route, passing through Saint-Émilion and its surroundings are offered by the Tourist Office. Find these routes here.
The medieval city also offers to discover 12 famous monuments of the city. Find them here.
The village hosts many events, including: The Jurade, the Philosophia festival, the Jazz Festival, producers’ markets, Vino Voce festival, European Heritage Days, Art Crafts Fair, Market of taste, Montgolfiades ... Discover the complete agenda here.
The Tourist Office also offers a wide tourist offer: various tours of the city and vineyards, but also chateaus to discover and their wines to taste ... Discover the entire tourism offer by the Tourist Office right here.
Contact of the municipality of Saint-Emilion
6 place Pioceau
Phone : +33 (0)5 57 24 72 09
Monday to Thursday: 8:30 am to 12 am and 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Friday: 8:30 am to 12 am and 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm