Saint Emilion is a beautiful medieval village 30min drive from Bordeaux. It’s well-known for red wine but what a lot of people don’t know is that there’s Europe’s largest medieval monolithic church hidden under the village.
The Saint Emilion Underground Visit (Monolithic church, hermitage of Emilion, Trinity chapel, the catacombs)
This visit is a must for everyone visiting the village. The visit consists of 4 monuments that are private so you have to take a guided tour. Many tour operators do the visit but you can also simply go to the tourist office and get tickets. Out of season there is only one visit at 2pm everyday. The tourist office is open all year round and speak impeccable english.
I did the tour in english with Agnes. She is a local guide, her english isn’t perfect with a french accent, but she is a great guide, will make you laugh and knows what she’s talking about. It was a real pleasure to have her as a guide for the 45min to an hour visit.
Being private monuments photos inside are strictly forbidden.
Guide: Agnes from the tourist office
Time: 2pm start / finished 3pm
Tickets cost: 9 euros per person / 17 euros if duo (2 people) / free for under 12 yrs.
What else to do?
Saint Emilion has enough to fill a day visit. The tourist office gives out maps that explain everything you can see. You can climb the bell tower (196 steps) for 2 euros per person, you must ask for the key at the tourist office.
Or you can climb the kings keep (118 steps) for 2 euros per person, there’s someone there but they only accept euros not bank cards.
There are also cloisters to see which are free of access, one of them you can get through by a huge wooden door inside the tourist office and then follow through into the main church (not the monolithic).
The cute medieval streets are beautiful, and the speciality are the macaroons, I do recommend you taste!
Parking: There is one free car park on the upper part of the village by the local shop, but it gets full very quickly.
Toilets: There are public toilets dotted around the village. (I think you have to pay 0.50ct)