Saint Emilion day-trip: things to do & Saint Emilion wine

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Welcome to the beautiful region of Bordeaux, France! If you’re looking for an amazing day trip outside of the city and haven’t yet made it to Saint Emilion, let us be your guide.

This charming village is only one hour away from Bordeaux, and as a renowned wine producer with plenty of historic sites to explore, it makes for a perfect day trip destination in this region of France.

Whether this will be your first or tenth visit here, there’s never a shortage on things to do – from touring its vineyards and tasting local wines to exploring its numerous monuments; we’ve got all the information you need for a memorable experience in Saint Emilion.

In this blog post we will explore what makes St. Emilion, France so special and go over where you can find Saint Emilion on your map. So grab yourself some baguette and cheese, get ready for an amazing adventure through cobblestone roads that lead into unforgettable memories, fasten up those seatbelts…it’s time now for our exciting virtual journey towards what awaits in St Emilion!

Where is St. Emilion, France?

Located between the Bordeaux region of France and the city of Bergerac, St. Emilion is a picturesque medieval commune with an abundance of historical monuments, interesting architecture and some of the world’s best wines.

Only an hour away by train from Bordeaux or 45 minutes driving, the historical city of Saint Emilion is a must visit if you’re around. You’ll discover some of the best Bordeaux wine tours up there.

Find here the best wine tours in Saint Emilion Grand Cru we can suggest for you!


3 unmissable visits to Saint Emilion

Are you planning to come with family or friends to the Bordeaux region? So be sure to pass through the magnificent village of Saint Emilion, and immediately discover a few unmissable places to put on your list of visits.

1. The Monolithic Church of Saint Emilion

The Monolithic Church of St. Emilion is one of the most famous monuments in Saint Emilion and its surroundings. The monolithic church, located in the middle of the village, is the largest underground church in Europe.

Its particularity is indeed to have been dug in the rocks, under the Place des Créneaux and the Place du Clocher, in a side of the hill. This protected church is listed as a World Heritage monument.

Monolithic Church - Saint Emilion
Monolithic Church – Saint Emilion

Although we do not know the exact date of its construction, this place of worship is dated by historians back to the 11th century, and its 53-meter high bell tower would have been completed during the 12th century.

A few meters from this church is the Chapel of the Trinity Saint Emilion. The interior of its walls is decorated with ancient medieval frescoes which have survived very well. We therefore advise you to add it to your list of visits at the same time as the Monolithic Church.

2. The King’s Tower

Would you like to admire Saint Emilion and its surroundings from the only intact Roman vestige in the region? Then go to the top of the Tour du Roy – over 100 ft high for a breathtaking view. Climbing the 118 steps costs 2 euros per adult and is free for children under 6 years old.

Tour du Roy in Saint-Emilion
Tour du Roy – Saint Emilion

Like the Monolithic Church, it is unclear when it was built. According to the versions of historians, the creation of this dungeon could be attributed to Louis VIII or Henri III Plantagenêt, then King of England and Duke of Aquitaine in 1237.

3. The Collegiate Church

This parish church built by the Romans is one of the most imposing in the Bordeaux region. It has a cloister whose galleries are decorated with murals, and much of the sculpture is of Gothic inspiration, since this church was rebuilt during the Middle Ages.

Best Wine Châteaux to visit in Saint Emilion

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Landscape view of Saint Emilion village in Bordeaux region in France

The notoriety of Saint Emilion is mainly due to its Grand Crus of prestigious wines. It is a world celebrity that has earned the honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage Village.

If you want to know more about this legendary appellation and the producers who passionately perpetuate one of the greatest treasures of French heritage, you have come to the right place.

Winalist offers you some ideas of domains to visit in the surroundings of Saint Emilion.

Château Cormeil-Figeac

The Moreaud family will make help discover the history of one of the 100 oldest properties in the Saint Emilion appellation. Wine lovers of all expertise levels can visit this winemaking estate and have a fun time. Their “Tasting for Dummies” activity offers you the opportunity to learn how to taste and distinguish wines and their subtleties.

From the family: “With us, wine is a family story that has been passed down for more than 75 years. From working the land to the intimate pleasure of tasting, we are the fourth generation of owners, winegrowers and breeders. We cultivate our independence and our know-how to offer unique wines, of very high quality but always accessible”.

The Merlot and Cabernet Franc grape varieties make up the 25 hectares of vines of this property.

Château la Croizille

The 5 hectares of vines of Château La Croizille enjoy an exceptional terroir and very good exposure on the southern slopes of the clay-limestone plateau of Saint Emilion. Located in Saint-Laurent des Combes, the Château la Croizille estate now belongs to the De Schepper-De Mour family, and offers several oenological experiences to its visitors:

  • Visit and tasting
  • Picnic
  • Privilege visit

During your visit, you will have the opportunity to discover their very sophisticated architectural cellar, with a breathtaking view of the entire vineyard. The Château la Croizille estate is open to the public all year round.

Book a visit to Château la Croizille

Château Tour-Saint-Christophe

Go to Saint-Christophe des Bardes, on the edge of Saint Emilion, to visit Vignobles, some of the most beautiful grape-baring vines in the Bordeaux Region. You can enjoy this region with our exclusive host, Château Tour-Saint-Christophe.

This estate has magnificent reception rooms, terraces and a large landscaped park in the middle of the vineyards. You can even stay there if you want to treat yourself to a weekend to recharge your batteries in the sumptuous rooms of the Château Bellefont-Belcier, or in the apartment of the Château Tour Saint-Christophe.

 - Visit and tasting of 2 cuvées
Wine tasting room – Château Tour-Saint-Christophe

Discover the riches of the estate through the architecture, history and passion of the team who work all year round to produce wines of rare quality in fully renovated cellars.

More wineries near Saint Emilion

While you will find yourself in one of the world most famous wine region, and of France’s most beautiful vineyard, it’s well worth considering driving on the Médoc Wine Route and discovering more wonderful villages and wineries! Find the Médoc Wine Route itinerary we came up with – for you to have a best day trip in the Bordeaux vineyards.

The history of Saint Emilion

Very famous for its wine, this village also has a history that will surprise many.

In the 8th century, a monk who came from Brittany, from Vannes to be precise, came to settle in the village of Ascumbas. This monk is called Émilion , and for 17 years he evangelized the population and even went so far as to create a monastery. The legend says that he is at the origin of the gushing of the source allowing him to perform miracles during all these years.

Following his death, the town of Ascumbas was built around the Combes cave, in which Émilion lived, and became Saint Emilion.

Did you know? During the French Revolution, this town was renamed Émilion-la-Montagne.

FAQ & Useful Resources

What is Saint Emilion wine?

Saint Emilion is actually both the name of a French village in the Libournais district of Bordeaux, and a wine Appellation. Saint Emilion are red wines predominantly made of Merlot and Cabernet-Franc.

Attend some of the best events in Saint Emilion?

Even if Saint Emilion is a rather small village, it’s very lively and you can attend nice events:
– The Open Doors
– Saint Emilion Jazz Festival
– Montgolfiades de Saint Emilion
– Ben de Vendanges

How to get to Saint Emilion?

By airplane: land to the closest airports – Bordeaux Merignac Airport, and the smaller one of Bergerac. Than take a direct train from Bordeaux’s main train station (Gare Saint-Jean).
By train: you’ll find direct trips from big cities to Bordeaux (including Paris), to then take a direct train to Saint Emilion.
By bus: also from Bordeaux, you’ll find any bus lines that are much cheaper than train trips.
– If you wish to travel around the region a little, on the Médoc Wine Route for example, the best option is to rent a car from Bordeaux.

Where to stay in Saint Emilion?

Even if Saint Emilion is a small village, it is worth settling there at least for a night – especially if you’re a wine-enthusiast!
Here is a small list of nice accommodations:
– Logis de la Cadene;
– Hostellerie de Plaisance;
– Les Chambres d’Ovaline;
_ Château Hôtel Grand Barrail.
Find more in Saint Emilion on!

When is the best time to come to Saint Emilion?

If you want to avoid too much of a crowed environment, it’s best to avoid coming at the beginning of April and in June, when international events take place (like Vinexpo).
Excluding these periods:
May and June are perfects months for wine tours and tastings: days are long, the weather is nice and it’s not the high tourist season yet.
Summer: of course, summer is nice time to visit Saint Emilion – and more generally speaking – South-West of France, but you will find yourself right into the high tourist season, so in more crowded environments. Which can turn out to be very fin!
September and October: this is the harvest season, so wineries are busy, but it’s also a great time to understand how this step works – if you are interested in wine-making.

Should I visit Saint-Emilion even if I don’t know much about wine?

Please do! Saint-Emilion is a town of outstanding beauty. You will be delighted by the region’s gorgeous landscape and cute villages.