A lovely little side trip you can do from Bordeaux is head into wine country. There are many charming villages surrounded by vineyards. One such village is Saint-Emilion, and I spent a delightful sunny Sunday afternoon there in October.
My afternoon started with a wine tasting at Chateau Soutard. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the vineyard was a sea of green. Row upon row of grapes, waiting to be harvested into wine.
The tasting started out with a tour of the Chateau by Alvaro. Tour guide and wine connoisseur by day, Wine Cowboy by night. After learning about how they make the wine, it was time to get down to business and taste some! The steps to tasting wine go something like this: look at the color, smell, swirl, smell again, and taste.
After the tasting, we headed into Saint-Emilion. I really like Saint-Emilion. It was a quaint little village with narrow cobblestoned streets, some of which were quite steep. This is the place to be if you’re looking for wine! There were shops selling wine everywhere!
Besides wine, Saint-Emilion has some interesting sights. We had a tour of the hermitage, the Chapelle de la Trinité, the catacombs, and the Eglise Monolithe. The hermitage is where the village’s namesake, a monk named Emilion, lived in a grotto carved into the rock back in the 8th century.
The Eglise Monolithe is the largest underground church in Europe, and it was carved out of the rock by Benedictine monks during the 9th to 12th centuries. How they ever managed such a daunting task that many years ago, with only their primitive tools, is a mystery to me. They did make a slight mistake, as the bell tower built above the church isn’t centered above the four stone pillars in the church below. This has led to some support issues which they’re trying to fix. Who knows? Maybe in a few years you won’t be able to go into the church anymore. I’m lucky I got to see it while you still can!
I loved the square, place du Marché, in front of the church! I loved the facade of the church. I loved the stone buildings. I loved all the people enjoying a late lunch on the patio in front of the restaurant. I just loved the feel of the place!
Another little gem Trafalgar took us on the Best of France tour.