On a sunny Monday morning, I decided to benefit from the nice weather and visit one of Bordeaux’s neighboring towns. Here’s the story of my day trip to Saint Emilion.
This charming medieval village and UNESCO World Heritage site had always been on my bucket list. It is very well known for its amazing landscapes, unlimited vineyards and of course, wine! So if you are planning a trip to Saint Emilion, here is a detailed description of how to spend a whole day and enjoy this beautiful town.
How did I get to Saint-Emilion?
Saint-Emilion is 30 minutes away from Bordeaux by train. You can check the train timetable by clicking here. The trip costs about 9 Euros for a one-way ticket.
I left Bordeaux at 9 in the morning and reached the village by 9.30. From the train station, you should consider 20 to 25 minutes walk to the center of the town.
Signs are present in every corner of the streets which means you do not have to worry about getting lost. However, in case you do, it is not a big deal as you will be surrounded by breathtaking vineyards!
My advice is to enjoy every step you take while walking between the vineyards and landscapes before you reach the town. When you get closer, you will notice a big tower overseeing all of Saint-Emilion. This “Bell Tower” should be your first stop as it is located next to the tourism office that you have to check before you begin wandering around the town.
Four awesome ways to discover Saint-Emilion
In order to make the most out of Saint-Emilion, I decided to visit the tourism office to get a map of the town and ask about interesting tours they offer. Here are the 4 things I recommend doing to fully enjoy this village.
Tour the underground:
It is definitely a tour not to be missed!
When I arrived at the tourism office, I was told they had a walking tour that covers 4 main historical sites of Saint-Emilion that you can only enter if accompanied by a guide. the tour costs 9 Euros per person and lasts about 1 hour.
The guide arrived at 11.30 and we started the walking tour in front of the amazing monolithic church. We literally discovered the underground legacy of Saint-Emilion. I felt like I was walking in a different era as I visited the hermitage of Émilion, the Trinity Chapel with its medieval paintings, and the catacombs with the underground church.
The guide was very professional and you can always find tours in different languages such as English, French, and Spanish.
For reservations, you can book on the tourism office website.
Visit a “Wine Chateau”:
Since Saint-Emilion is very well known for its wine, it is essential to visit one of the amazing castles and its vineyards.
Once at the tourism office, I asked about these tours. I was offered many choices, but since I didn’t have a car, I chose the closest one to the city center which is “Chateau Villemaurine“.
The tour costs 12 Euros and lasts 1 hour, ending with wine tasting. It really is a must for all wine lovers. You will get the chance to discover the vineyards, the process of winemaking and most importantly visit the underground quarries.
I would recommend visiting the tourism office and booking these tours once you arrive in Saint-Emilion as there is usually only one tour per day.
Otherwise, you can book your place on the tourism office website:
Take the stairs to the top of the “Bell Tower”:
The “Bell tower” is one of the biggest monuments in Saint-Emilion. If you ever get lost while walking towards the city center, just look around you and you will spot it from far away. It is built in the center of the village.
Visiting the tower and looking down on Saint-Emilion from up there is an amazing experience. For 2 Euros, the tourism office will give you the keys to the old wooden door through which you access the tower.
I began climbing 196 steps until a few minutes later I reached the highest point of the tower.
The view from up there is breathtaking. I just stood there for 10 minutes, admiring the beauty of this town.
Wander on your own in the streets of Saint-Emilion:
Wandering around the medieval streets of Saint-Emilion is certainly a very pleasant walk. I enjoyed passing by all the wine shops, looking at their windows filled with wine bottles. The friendly waiters and waitresses were everywhere, inviting people to the restaurant they work in. Simley faces of locals and tourists filled the streets.
I highly recommend taking some time between the walking tours, to visit Saint-Emilion by yourself, to get lost in its streets because it’s so magical.
Don’t forget however to get a map of Saint-Emilion once you arrive at the tourism office. It can prove very helpful!
Where did I have lunch?
The city center of Saint-Emilion is filled with restaurants of all type. Some of them have similar menus while others offer different cuisines.
I was walking the streets of this old town and stopped by a place called “O Trois Fontaines“. It caught my attention with its attractive design and interesting menu.
I sat on one of the high tables, that are basically oak barrels and ordered a smoked salmon plate with a glass of red wine and it was divine!
I highly recommend this place as the food is really good, the waitresses are really nice and sociable, and it has really good value for money.
And to conclude…
Saint-Emilion is a really nice and pleasant place that should be on your bucket list if you ever visit France and more specifically Bordeaux.
Make sure the weather is good on the day of the visit to make the most out of your visit!
I left the town at around 4.30 PM and it took me around 35 minutes to reach the train station as I decided to walk slowly to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful landscapes one last time.
Check out my first ever vlog about this day right here! >>>
I hope this article helps you plan your trip and for any information feel free to contact me or visit the tourism office website.
Make sure to check other blog posts that may interest you =)