Thursday, April 15, 2010

A romantic getaway in Saint Emilion

Overlooking Saint-Emilion

Saint-Emilion might look like the standard example of a tourist trap. It is very touristic - but still. This little medieval city has an incredible amount of charm. UNESCO has put both the city and the surrounding vineyards on the world cultural heritage list. Steep stone laid streets, real old stone houses with thick walls and wine shops in every corner. At several places you have an astounding view over the tiled roofs and the vineyards.

The roof tops of Saint-Emilion

I went there with my husband on a romantic getaway.... perfect! We stayed at the Logis de la Cadène, one of these real old places with stone walls and furniture with a history. From our room we saw out over the restaurant below and its terrace covered in vines. We had lunch there, with the sun light filtering through the leaves...

In the evening the city became quiet as the tourist buses disappeared. We enjoyed watching the beautiful houses, even more beautiful in the late sun. The stones glowed. Dinner was had at Le Tertre, a small restaurant that had lined up three little tables along the wall outside. We lingered over dinner and a bottle of wine for hours, enjoying the coolness of the evening after a very hot day.

View over the vines of Saint-Emilion

During the day we had also made a short visit to Pomerol, one of my favourite wine districts and one of the smallest in France. We went to the Beauregard castle where a guide took care of the two of us, taking us for a stroll in the vines, down in the cellar for a tasting of the year's wine, still not tapped, and finally let us taste some of their bottled wine. Excellent...

La maison du vin de Saint-Emilion
Photo Wikipedia

We also checked out the Maison du vin de Saint-Emilion, where all the different producers are represented at the same prices as you get directly from the owners. They also give advice about what to buy, how to to store them, what kind of wine that fits with what kind of food, etc.

At another occasion we had a look at the underground of Saint Emilion. Underneath the city, a Swiss cheese, with 200 kilometres of winding tunnels!  They were created as workers extracted limestone to build houses from the ninth to the 19th century. Mustn't have an earthquake here, the whole city would simply collapse....

Saint Emilion tourist office

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