You’ve probably heard about Saint-Emilion, one of the most famous wine appellations in the world. But do you know about its full and intriguing history?

Keep reading for the hidden details of Saint-Emilion…

Saint Emilion is a village of about 2000 people, 45 min away from Bordeaux. Perched on a rocky promontory, Saint Emilion and its vineyard derive their uniqueness from the limestone, which offers exceptional soils to its vines. 

The name Saint Emilion comes from the eighth century when a Breton named Émilion, born in Vannes and famous for his miracles, decides to leave his homeland to retire and devote himself to prayer. Moving along the Atlantic coast, he became a monk and moved to a little village named Ascumbas, which then changed its name out of respect to Saint-Emilion.

Over the centuries, several religious communities have settled in the village, attracted by the cult of Emilion, as evidenced by the many monasteries, convents and churches. Thus, between the eighth and eighteenth centuries, Benedictines, Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Ursuline sisters coexisted or succeeded one another in the city’s heart.

The city is rich in religious heritage (churches, chapels, crosses), several hundred wine chateaux, mansions, wine cellars, dovecotes, windmills and washhouses.

Saint-Émilion was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1999 under “Cultural Landscape”. It was the first classified vineyard in the world!

Today, many people – a million a year! – come to Saint-Emilion to see and visit all the rich heritage of this medieval town and its 800 châteaux. So when you visit, enjoy the architecture and history, and don’t forget about the wine!

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