Medieval St-Émilion is the oldest wine town in France. It is about 22 miles northeast of Bordeaux and sits high on a limestone rock overlooking the seemingly endless vineyards, châteaux and Romanesque churches of the Dordogne valley.
St-Émilion is a cluster of stone houses, churches and wine shops surrounded by ramparts.
The most famous sight is Église Monolithe, a 12th-century subterranean church, complete with catacombs and quarries. Its belfry sits on the main square, Place des Créneaux, a terrace with great views.
The Romanesque Collégiale de Saint-Émilion is worth ducking into to view the statue of St. Valery, the patron saint of winemakers of Saint-Émilion, the frescoes and the adjacent 14th-century cloister.
St-Émilion has been thriving since the 8th century when Benedictine monk Émilion arrived from Brittany, settled in a cave and began performing miracles. People traveled from all over for his healing powers and advice. Due to these followers, the town exploded to an enormous population of 10,000 (today, under 3,000 people live here). Over time, the region prospered due to its wine production.Tweet