The Ursuline's Convent


Since its origins, the city of Saint-Emilion has experienced significant religious presence, by welcoming Benedictines, Augustins, Franciscans and finally Dominicans. The sisters of the order of Saint-Ursule settle down in Saint-Emilion on June 1st, 1620.

Founded by Mrs. Lacroix, the convent and its 18 nuns had for main purpose to provide free education to girls from poor classes of the city and its Jurisdiction. The sisters managed to welcome up to 80 registered schoolgirls, figure which went down to 8 after the great epidemic of plague which, occurred 3 years after installation.

When the Revolution broke out, the church property were nationalized and an inventory of the place is done: a church, two sacristies, a main building where the cloister is supported, several other buildings and the residential compound of apartments, chai wood and straw, as well as pig sheds, a well, a garden and a courtyard. A few years later, in 1792, the order is forbidden and the goods are sold to be used for other purposes: revolutionary prison, gendarmerie and finally vineyard. This wine benefits from the pen of the former convent but the buildings, themselves, are gradually falling into ruin.

However today, the memory of these nuns is still present in the village, through the foundations of this former convent, but also by the scent of the almond sometimes floating in the streets of the village...

In fact, legend says that one of the sisters, Miss Boutin, living in poverty since the Revolution has proposed to unveil the secret recipe in exchange for shelter and food ... recipe which became quickly the specialty of the village of Saint-Emilion, a delicious soft round cake known as macaroon! Early on, macaroons of Miss Boutin acquired a reputation that went beyond the city walls. They are served to accompany the tasting of the best vintages in the 1867 Universal Exhibition. The two specialties of the city obtained great fame in parallel. Therefore, the shops are multiplying in the city streets ...


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