5 reasons to come to Saint-Émilion

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  • 1️⃣ The largest monolithic church in Europe!

    1️⃣ The largest monolithic church in Europe!

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        THE LARGEST MONOLITHIC CHURCH IN EUROPE!   - #1 REASON TO COME TO SAINT-EMILION! -     38 m in lenght and 12 m high: the monolithic church - that is to say, built out of a single block of stone - is definitely worth a visit. Stories and legends intermingle in this incredible monument: you'll have to see it to believe it!     > YOU WILL BE IMPRESSED: by its gigantic proportions!    The monolithic church is an underground religious building dug at the beginning of the 12th century in impressive proportions: 38m lenght and 12m high.   If it reveals itself to the visitor by the position of a 68-metre high bell tower, it then hides behind the elegance of three large "windows" in the façade and a Gothic portal that is often closed (because it is only on a guided tour that you can enter this underground church for an unforgettable experience). The church is as surprising as it is fragile!   In the heart of the city, the monolithic church recalls the religious activity of the city in the Middle Ages and intrigues by its unusual design.          > YOU MIND WILL BE BLOWN: by thr technical prowess!      The name of this church alone underlies its "out of the ordinary" character. The monolithic noun derives its roots from the ancient Greek "mono" meaning "unique" and "lithos" meaning "stone"; qualifying a building dug directly into the limestone plateau of Saint-Emilion.       Indeed, for nearly a millennium, between the 9th and 19th centuries, stone quarries multiplied in the limestone plateau of Saint-Emilion. Quarrymen worked tirelessly to extract millions of blocks of stone for the major construction sites from Saint-Emilion to Bordeaux. This exploitation has left an immense network of 80 ha of underground galleries, forming a giant maze of almost 200 km in total.     The monolithic church remains today the most emblematic building of this limestone extraction. It was surely commissioned to accompany the development of the city around a pilgrimage activity to the tomb of Saint-Emilion.          > YOU WILL GO BACK IN TIME: with the monk Emilion!     In the village bearing his name, the memory of Emilion is never far away!   This Breton, born in Vannes and famous for his miracles, decided in the 8th century to leave his native land to retire and devote himself to prayer. Following the Atlantic coast, he became a monk and then settled in Ascumbas, the former name of the city of Saint-Emilion.   Joined by a few Benedictine disciples, he founded the first religious community there and evangelised the population. Thus was created the great monastic city to which the faithful gave his name a few centuries later.   The holy man is said to have died in the year 767, after having spent the last seventeen years of his life in his hermitage, a simple grotto located in the heart of the village, a few steps from the monollithic church where his relics were preserved for a time before mysteriously disappearing ...       > YOU WILLE BE PUZZLED: by the legend of Emilion's chair!     Little known to the general public, the Hermitage of Saint-Emilion is a magical place. In this cave forming a natural shelter is Emilion's chair or meditation seat, where the monk of the same name used to pray.   Over the years and through stories, this seat has been given the name "Seat of Fertility". Legend has it that a woman wishing to have a child just has to sit on this chair and pray to Saint-Emilion to become pregnant within a year.      -   "Simple myth will say the most skeptical! "   -     Except that every year the Tourist Office receives dozens of birth announcements from the many women who come from all over the world especially to sit on this "Seat of Fertility"!   Here are some of Emilion's babies, as we affectionately call them, from the last few years: > In 2020: Nael, Margaux, Noemi, Violette, Ignatius Jameson> In 2019: Jules, Martin et Maxime, Mattéo Thiên An, Gabriel, Ryden, Emiliano, Emilie, Jenna, Elisa, Maëlle, Emilie et Gabriel-Émilion, Léo, Eloan, Robin, Emma, Déva et Céleste, Felipe, Arthur Emile> In 2018: Lou, Agathe, Arthur, Ines, Oscar, Marcus, Athénaïs, Antoine, Thomas, Nora, Aiyana, Léon, Lisa> In 2017: Gabin, Zoe, Tiago, Alexandre, Jean, Jules, Paul, Arthur, Elise, Helena, Nina, Frédéric-Emilion> In 2016: Frances Emilion, Gaël, Lucas, Naël, Sara, Loan, Isabella, Eugénie, Camille, Arthur> In 2015: Léopold, Noémie, Victor, Romane, Estelle, Lili-Rose, Victor, Anae, Gabin, Raphaël, Jane, Marta, Alberto, Alexandre> In 2014: Ulysse, Emilien, Alizée, Alix, Gaël, Enzo, Lena, Ellia Saverianna> In 2013: Lena, Darius, Shiori, Anna, Inès> In 2012: Vittoria Rosaria Emiliana      
  • 2️⃣ The first vineyard listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site

    2️⃣ The first vineyard listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site

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         FIRST VINEYARD INSCRIBED ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST BY UNESCO!     - REASON #2 TO COME TO SAINT-ÉMILION!  -        Since December 1999, the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion has been listed as a "cultural landscape" on the World Heritage List.   Resulting from a real human adventure and a race against time, the recognition of our territory by UNESCO is a world first for a vineyard! It is therefore a very special place that you are about to discover!       > BUT WHAT IS A CULTURAL LANDSCAPE?   A cultural landscape is, for UNESCO, a landscape representative of a region of the world reflecting the "combined works of man and nature. They express a long and intimate relationship between people and their environment".   In the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion, everything reminds us that Man and Nature have progressed together, by developing the cultivation of the vine, which appeared more than 2,000 years ago. A cultural landscape such as that of the Jurisdiction is sculpted by its history and geography.   Religious architecture, wine-growing architecture or small architectural heritage from past generations (vine huts, wash houses, watercress houses, mills, etc.) are all expressions of a society and its know-how that need to be kept alive and passed on to future generations.           > THE JURISDICTION OF SAINT-EMILION: 8 VILLAGES AND THEIR VINEYARDS   The UNESCO inscription of our territory concerns the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion, that is to say the medieval town of Saint-Emilion, the seven villages that surround it and their vineyards.   This territory is therefore spread over the following communes: Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-Émilion, Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, Saint-Pey-d’Armens, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, and Vignonet.   From 1199, when the Jurade was set up, until 1999, this geographical area was to be defined as a "family wine-growing community based on solidarity".   This definition is one of the foundations of the inscription to UNESCO, of which the inhabitants take great pride because, throughout these years, each in their own way has contributed to giving meaning to it and to perpetuating the Saint-Emilion vineyard.           > LET'S NOT FORGET THE DORDOGNE!   All the peculiarity of Saint-Emilion Area is to have a second property recognized by UNESCO thanks to the river Dordogne. In fact, on 11th of July 2012, the International Coordinating Council of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme integrated the Dordogne basin into the world network of Biosphere Reserves.   The recognition offered by this network thus highlights the exceptional territory crossed by the Dordogne, as much its preserved nature as its cultural heritage, without forgetting its way of life marked by the river's imprint.          
  • 3️⃣ World-famous wines

    3️⃣ World-famous wines

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      WORLD-FAMOUS WINES !   - #3 REASON TO COME TO SAINT-EMILION ! -     Wine in Saint-Emilion is not new! It was the Romans who, as early as the 2nd century, took over the local terroir and planted the first vines. There is no doubt that wine already occupied an important place in Gallo-Roman times, although the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion did not speak of monoculture until the 19th century.     > AN EXCEPTIONAL "TERROIR": for world-famous wines   The exceptional side of the Saint-Emilion vineyard is explained by its "terroir".   Behind this word, it is the subtle alliance between 4 magical "ingredients" that appears:   4 types of soil: limestone, clayey-limestone, gravelly and sandy. 3 main grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. 1 temperate oceanic climate favourable to the vine characterized by moderate temperature differences between summer and winter and rainfall well distributed over the year. 1 unique know-how of the winegrowers of our territory.   This fragile alliance is transmitted from generation to generation within the families of passionate people who are committed to maintain these family traditions. This is why, for the past few years, Saint-Emilion winegrowers - in collaboration with the Saint-Emilion Wine Council or the other Wine Trade Unions - have been taking strong action to preserve their natural environment!         > A UNIQUE RANKING IN THE WORLD: renewed every ten years   As early as 1884, winegrowers got together to create the first winegrowers' union in France. The evolution of the wine world was then underway and a whole series of actions were to be undertaken over the following years, such as the birth of two Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée: Saint-Émilion and Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.   In 1955, a classification of the wines belonging to the AOC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru was instituted by the Saint-Émilion Wine Council. This is revised every 10 years and encourages winegrowers to move ever closer to excellence. Its main objective is to guarantee the origin, quality and authenticity of Saint-Emilion wines.   The latest classification drawn up by the INAO (Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualité) and the Ministry of Agriculture has distinguished the following 3 levels of quality :   1er Grand Cru Classé A - with only 4 wine estates (Château Angélus - Château Ausone Château Cheval Blanc - Château Pavie) 1er Grand Cru Classé - 14 wine estates Grand Cru Classé - 64 wine estates             > THE JURADE: an ancestral tradition during modern times     While Aquitaine has been under English rule since 1152, the charter signed by John Lanckland - King of England - in 1199 gave administrative, judicial and financial autonomy to Saint-Emilion, and then to his Jurisdiction with the creation of the Jurade - made up of notables and magistrates. In exchange for its new rights, England was able to enjoy the "privilege of the Saint-Emilion Wines".   The authority of the Jurade continued in this form until the French Revolution in 1789.   In 1948, a few winegrowers resurrected the brotherhood, which then became the ambassador of Saint-Emilion wines throughout the world, with the ambition of guaranteeing the authenticity and quality of its wines.   Its members put on their old traditional red robes twice a year: for the Spring Festival in June and for the Ban des Vendanges in September. During these events, the members of the Jurade parade through the city, dressed in their traditional red dress, recalling the almighty Jurade of past centuries and induct new Jurats.         Warning: alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health. Consume with moderation.
  • 4️⃣ A gourmet destination

    4️⃣ A gourmet destination

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        GOURMET & UNIQUE RECIPES! - #4 REASON TO COME TO SAINT-EMILION -     When the name Saint-Émilion comes to mind, some will think wine, but others will think delicacies and traditional recipes! Here is an overview of our unmissable local specialities!     > YOU'LL SAVOUR: the famous Saint-Emilion macaroon       This gourmet speciality has been passed down from generation to generation in Saint-Émilion since the Ursuline sisters established their convent in the medieval city in 1620.   During the Universal Exhibition of 1867, these little delicacies were tasted to accompany the wines of Saint-Emilion. The Jury was not mistaken and rewarded both wines and macaroons! Less colourful than Parisian macaroons, Saint-Emilion macaroons are made from sweet and bitter almonds, egg whites and sugar!   Their reputation is well established and no manufacturer has managed to achieve the quality of macaroons made with the recipe of the nuns of Saint-Emilion in the possession of Nadia Fermigier today.         > YOU'LL DISCOVER: the strange lamprey of Sainte-Terre     About 500 million years old, the lamprey - sometimes nicknamed "Vampire of the Seas" - is emblematic of the Saint-Emilion Area and symbol of the village of Sainte-Terre. Although already cooked in the Middle Ages in the form of pies, the lamprey has remained on our plates throughout time.   Since 1913, the name "Lamprey à la bordelaise" has allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the regional culture.   The commune of Sainte-Terre proclaimed itself the world capital of the lamprey in 1990. It has therefore chosen to celebrate this 500 million year old aquatic animal and to make it an object of study, encounters and occasions for convivial and gastronomic gatherings! Thus, every year in April, the Confrérie de la Lamproie brings together local amateurs and curious during two days of celebration and sharing: the Fête de la Lamproie.           > YOU'LL TASTE: the Crémant de Bordeaux made in Saint-Emilion   In the heart of the village, the production of Crémant de Bordeaux (sparkling white or rosé wine made according to the traditional method) has been going on since the 19th century both in the Caves de la  Tour du Roy and in the darkness of the underground quarries of the former Franciscan monastery in the Cloître des Cordeliers.         > STARS IN YOUR EYES AND IN YOUR PLATES: among the Michelin stars of the region      Saint-Emilion's gastronomy is inspired by our local heritage and terroir. Wine plays an important role in this cuisine. It is not surprising that great chefs, such as Philippe Etchebest, have worked here.   Today the Greater Saint-Émilion Area has three Michelin starred tables:  
  • 5️⃣ Discover our team's favourites

    5️⃣ Discover our team's favourites

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        IN THE MOOD FOR SOME LOCAL ADVICE? OUR TEAM WILL SHARE WITH YOU ITS FAVOURITE OUTINGS, WALKS OR DELICACIES!    - #5 REASON TO COME TO SAINT-ÉMILION -      How about you go off the beaten track for your next vacation? The Tourist Office team invites you to discover its favourites so that you can set off on an adventure in Saint-Emilion as you would never have done before!       Les Macarons de Saint-Émilion  La Croix de Tourans Les bords de Dordogne   Les Montgolfiades Le Cloître des Cordeliers L'Eglise collégiale de Saint-Emilion   Le Club Ephémère La Porte Brunet Les Grottes Célestine   L'Eglise Notre-Dame de Cornemps La Tour de Montaigne A vélo à Saint-Emilion     Le Château de Vayres Points de vue cachés Coucher de soleil   Saint-Emilion en toute saison   Un bon repas partagé Le Village du Livre     Le Château de Vayres