Images en cours de chargement
Saint-Emilion|Photo Jordy MeowThe large walls|The cloister of the Cordeliers|The monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion||The Cardinal Palace|Photo Didier Descouens


Located on I' one of the most noble vineyards, Saint-Emilion amazes by its troglodyte tradition, but also by its monuments and its vestiges of the Romanesque era. The city has retained its premises and its doors as well as several monuments. With its steep streets and small charming squares, Saint-Emilion account of course of great wine shops. The village is also known for its macaroons prepared according to a traditional recipe.

Brief summary of history

Heir to an old Gallo-Roman oppidum, the city of Saint-Emilion became a religious city when the Emilian monk founded his monastery in the 8th century and there dug the cave of the Hermitage. He gathers around him companions who dig caves and then, after his death in 767, built the monolithic Church. Around this monastery itself creates the first village Saint-Émilion.

Louis VIII captured the city in 1224 and decides to strengthen the Citadel. The King of England Henri III becomes master of places in 1237 and complete to turn the Castle. His successor Edouard Ier consolidates in 1289 the communal Charter creating the jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion.

The city constantly changes hands during the war of the hundred years, before returning permanently to the armies of Charles VII after the battle of Castillon in 1453. During the wars of Religion, Saint-Emilion is successively sacked by Catholics and protestants.

The monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion

The monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion is unique in the world, more than 70 hectares of underground galleries dug into the limestone rock. Its construction required the extraction of more than 15'000 m³ of rock, a fairly large dimension that is not noticeable from the outside of the building. The Church consists of a nave and two collateral roughly equal dimensions (the central nave rises to eleven metres). It has six bays separated by large monolithic pillars. Medieval catacombs adjoin the western part of the access Gallery in the Church.
Monolithic Church - Place niche, 33330 Saint-Emilion - Tel. + 33 (0) 5 57 55 28 28.

The cloister of the Cordeliers

The cloister of the Cordeliers is located in the heart of the medieval town of Saint-Émilion, Gironde (France). It is one of the most emblematic picturesque sites of the city, with the monolithic Church. Classified historical monument and world heritage of UNESCO, the site also contains Underground cellars where are produced sparkling wines.
Cloister of the Cordeliers - 2 bis rue Porte-Brunet, 33330 Saint-Emilion - Tel. + 33 (0) 5 57 24 42 13.

The catacombs

It is very difficult to date the underground monuments, because each new layout destroyed irretrievably prior. Therefore, it is not possible to say at what time the catacombs have started to serve as a cemetery, or if the monument has been dug only once. There are in the central dome a hole through which the bones of the cemetery established in the top of the cliff were dumped. On this same Dome, a bas-relief depicts a scene of the Resurrection of the dead.
The catacombs - the market square, 33330 Saint-Emilion - Tel. + 33 (0) 5 57 55 28 28.

Discover in Saint-Émilion

The steep alleys to discover a village spread out amphitheatrically on the southern slopes of the limestone plateau. The underground part of the village presents evidence of the past that its part built, in particular the monolithic Church.

  • The tour du Roy (the Royal Castle) is a Citadel Dungeon built in 1237 on order of Henri III, King of England and Duke of Aquitaine. It is the only Romanesque style still visible Gironde Dungeon. It rises on two floors above an underground cavity that allows access, and above the medieval town of Saint-Emilion.
  • The door Brunet. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the city of Saint-Emilion has an imposing speaker about two kilometres in length system composed of many defensive elements. To the East of the city, the Porte Brunet is the last of them and the best preserved.
  • The collegiate church, built between the 12th and the 15th century, is one of the most imposing of Gironde. It housed the college of canons Augustins and who remained in the monastery until the end of the French revolution.  Testimony of many modifications: the Romanesque and Gothic style cohabiting at the time in the Church, but also in its cloister.
  • The wash-houses. These public pools built in the 19th century are powered by the same source. Offering a true spectacle for the whole village, the washerwomen came their washing. The laundries are today a pleasant flowery and refreshing stop at the discretion of the narrow streets of the lower town.
  • The Cardinal Palace. There is this magnificent Palace of the 12th century than the part integrated into the wall and located in the extension of the former main entrance to the city that was the 'Wifey gateway'.   We owe the origin of the name of this monument to Gaillard de la Mothe, nephew of Bertrand de Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux who was granted the title of Cardinal de Sainte-Luce.
  • The Ursuline convent was founded in the 17th century by the Ursuline sisters, it remains today of this convent only a small part of what it was. He resumed however the secret recipe for these delicious and fluffy cupcakes round, known under the name of "buttons", the another speciality of Saint-Emilion.

The vineyards of Saint-Emilion

The medieval town of Saint-Emilion and its 'jurisdiction' is included in world heritage of humanity by Unesco. It is "remarkable example of a historic vineyard landscape that has survived intact and illustrates exceptionally intensive cultivation of the vine to wine in a region bounded with precision. Saint-Emilion is a red wine french appellation d'origine contrôlée produced around the town of Saint-Emilion, part of the Bordeaux vineyards. The Saint-Emilion wines are wines to blend of different grape varieties, the three main ones being merlot (60% of the blend), cabernet franc (or nearly 30%) and cabernet sauvignon (about 10%).

Useful information :

Address :
33330 Saint-Emilion

Good to know :
The jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion tourist office square niches, 33330 Saint-Emilion Tel. + 33 (0) 5 57 55 28 28

Free of charge.

Where to stay:

All accommodation