The Legend of Saint-Émilion & why YOU need to visit


Saint-Émilion is amazing. It’s spectacular. It’s one hell of a place, I tell ya’!

It’s no surprise that if you were to ask me what my favorite small town is, I’d say “Saint-Émilion!!” before you could even finish asking me the question.

Nestled among the famous Bordeaux vineyards, mansion-like houses and magical fluffy clouds in south-west France is the gorgeous UNESCO listed town of Saint-Émilion.

Saint-Émilion…. you’ve heard that name before you say? I wouldn’t be surprised, as they are famous for their wines (especially red) and export them worldwide. The tiny town is full of small wine shops, with bottles to satisfy any budget and extremely knowledgeable employees eager to recommend their favorite vintage.

But WHY exactly is it my favorite town???

Not only because it is so incredibly beautiful, but because of the story behind the town… the Legend of Saint-Émilion, if you will.

Although I’ve heard slight variations to the story, it pretty much goes like this:

A monk named Émilion, born in Brittany way back in the 8th century, was accused of being a thief, so he set forth on a mighty pilgrimage. He eventually came to a forest, fell in love with the place, dug a cave and turned his life over to the big man upstairs. Eventually, other monks joined Émilion, and he became their leader, carrying out a life of good deeds and performing miracles. When he died, the town he had helped create was named after him, thus resulting in Saint-Émilion. Over the next 300 years after his death, monks carved a church out of one single ginormous piece of limestone, which still remains one of the greatest monolith churches in Europe to date. At the start of the French Revolution, the town was nearly completely unoccupied and remained so for 100 years until the beginning of the wine trade boom, which brought life back into the must-see town via tourists.

I’m not sure what it is about that legend, but it intrigues me. It captivates me. It inspires me to travel; to get out there and see more small towns with such huge, romantic stories such as Émilion’s.

The town of Saint-Émilion is the PERFECT day trip from the city of Bordeaux, and even a spectacular multi-day stay to unwind and marinate in a  medieval village, saturated with steep cobblestone streets and mind-blowing views. When in season, day tours from Bordeaux are easily booked, which drop you off right in the town. If off-season, getting there requires a little more effort, as you must take a bus and walk for about thirty minutes to reach the town. Either way, it’s a MUST.

Looking for a place to stay close by the picturesque piece of history? I HIGHLY suggest Auberge du Pressoir, the absolute BEST camping site I have ever been to. They offer bungalows, mobile home accommodation and tent spaces, all smack dab in the middle of the Bordeaux vineyards! The facilities are spectacular, including a restaurant, free wi-fi, bike hires to explore Saint-Émilion and much more.

Bordeaux grapes

Thank you, Saint-Émilion, for creating the absolute perfect town! J’adore!

About The Roaming Bean (109 Articles)
You're probably wondering what the heck is a "Roaming Bean"... Given that I am clearly not a Bean, and my name is Jen, what gives with this Bean thing, right? A friend of mine called me JenBean as a child, and it kinda stuck. Actually, it really stuck... even my license plate says Jenbean. And seeing as I have this grand lust to wander the world, The Roaming Bean seemed suitable. I've changed my career path more times than I have my underwear (minus all the times I've gone commando).... from animating, to forensic pathology, to international business, to fashion marketing and even to my wonderful and favorite of the bunch, degree in culinary arts, nothing kept my attention. Nothing was fun enough to do every day for the rest of my life. I mean, even though I cooked for celebrities in the heart of Hollywood, CA, why the hell would I want to sweat my ass off in a ridiculously HOT kitchen for most of the day and go home smelling like beef and onions? And the chef hat?? Do you know what that did to my hair?? Enter traveling.... The rainy day I descended down the tower of Notre Dame in Paris, gripping on to the railing for dear life so not to slip and tumble to an early death from the torrential down pour that was causing a small flood in the stairwell, my life changed. When I safely made it to the ground, legs shaky from an apparent lack of fitness it requires to walk up and down 387 steep stairs, I realized my hands were stained a delightful copper color from the rusted hand rail I had so dearly clung to. Desperate to get the icky stuff off my supple hands, and no running water in sight, I did what any other hopeless idiot would have done: I washed my hands in the nearest Parisian gutter. It was that moment that changed my life... I threw away my hair dryer, my rolling luggage and my dignity. I let my hair go natural, I bought a back pack and I CAMPED through Europe for a month and a half. Yes my friends, I crossed over into a savage traveling beast. Ok, a lot of people travel that way. But I didn't. And I'm so incredibly thankful for that rainy day in Paris that made me realize the world is a pretty sweet place. That realization led me on a quest; a quest to get out there, see things, soak up some local culture and eat my way around the world (with minimal food-related illnesses, such as but not limited to raging diarrhea).

1 Comment on The Legend of Saint-Émilion & why YOU need to visit

  1. Wow, what an amazing place! Is wine more expensive there than in Bordeaux? What’s a fair price for an average wine?

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