While in Bordeaux we took a day trip to visit the town of Saint Emilion. Vineyards have been cultivated around St Emilion since the 2nd century and the area is home to some of the most valuable vineyards in France. The small hilltop town is also a world heritage site whose steep and narrow streets are packed with medieval buildings.
We had seats on the 8am train from Bordeaux, and 45 mins later we got off at St Emilion station, 2kms from the town itself. Although the town is thronged with tourists in Summer, we were the only fools leaving the warm train that morning for a day of sightseeing in sub zero temperatures. Thankfully the town’s bar was open and we joined a few of the locals in there before 10am. We baulked at a morning shot of St Emilion wine, and opted instead for a hand warming coffee. The town was quiet and we enjoyed wandering around the hilly cobblestone streets, too steep for cars, and marveling at the ancient buildings, some of which date from the 13th century. We felt in sync with those bygone days as we sat at a medieval stone bench overlooking the town for our peasant picnic of bread and cheese. Although it is a small town (after a few hours we had walked every street), it is a big name in the wine industry, with the surrounding area home to hundreds of wine producers, including 18 Premiers grands crus classés and 64 Grands crus classés. Many of the old buildings in town are converted to wine cellars, but they were closed on the quiet weekday that we visited. After lunch we strolled along country lanes on the outskirts of town, determined that even if we wouldn’t taste the wine, we would at least see the vineyards!
A really nice day trip from Bordeaux, whatever the weather!