Chez Simon

Day Trip to Saint Emilion

If Bordeaux wines are the velvet pillow, Saint Emilion is the brightest jewel in the center of the Bordeaux winelands. A world heritage site, Saint Emilion is a scenic one hour drive from Blaye and is the perfect day-trip.

The Romans planted Saint Emilion’s original vines in the second century and in the fourth century the Latin poet Ausonius praised the fruit of Saint Emilion’s vines.

Saint Emilion was later named after the monk Emilion, a traveling confessor, who settled in a hermitage (a secluded religious settlement) carved into the rock there in the eighth century. The monks who followed Emilion started the commercial wine production that the Saint Emilion area is famous for today.

One day is barely enough to see everything there is to see in Saint Emilion. One of our favorite sights that few seem to know about is the following: Go to the center of town into the tourist bureau. Ask them for a key to the steeple that is next to the tourist center. You’ll probably have to leave your ID with them (we did). Then let yourself in to the Saint Emilion steeple and enjoy a completely private viewing experience from the highest point in Saint Emilion.

Directly next to the steeple is the 2 Michelin star restaurant “Hostellerie de Plaisance” which is run by Chef Philippe Etchebest. It is almost always fully booked on the day you visit St Émilion so please call ahead. Their number is +33-(0)55-755-0755. In our experience they speak excellent English.