A day trip to Saint-Émilion
A trip to one of the many wineries is a must if you visit Bordeaux, not only for wine tasting but also the opportunity to soak in the breathtaking views that have stood the test of time. Our second day in Bordeaux was a trip to Saint-Émilion, a Unesco World Heritage Site!
If you check out the tourist info on how best to visit Saint-Émilion from Bordeaux, don’t get to confused, we found the the best way, a self paced walking tour to really appreciate this charming medieval village. Just prepare a basic itinerary, hop on the train and you’ll be right. A guided wine tour maybe advantageous though, especially if you plan on doing some serious tasting, it will also get you right in the heart of the country side instead of just the main parts. We found we were able to see just about everything in half a day, so a booked wine trip or general tour either in full or part offered by one of the many operators would be quite enticing and a great way to split up a whole day.
We booked our unreserved tickets in advance through Omio for 12 € return each in class B. It was an early departure at 07:10 and the ride time was around 45 mins. You’ll be surprised when the train arrives in Saint-Émilion as it seems quite remote. A large group alighted with us at the station, some opting for various chariots of travel, we decided to walk into town, which proved to be pleasant and relatively easy in 20 minutes. Rambling past vast properties with amazing gardens and crumbling ancient buildings bursting with that ever so French je ne sais quoi.
Upon arrival you are met with a number of options, join a local tour for wine tasting, visit a Chateau, have a brunch in many cafes/restaurants, meal in a Michelin star restaurant, cheese tasting, lunch with wine pairing, or a picnic? There are plenty of quiet areas where you can have a take out meal and enjoy the magnificent views. Activities in Saint-Émilion are wide and varied, just manage your time and budget and your’e covered.
All the landmarks around the village are remarkable. Being on your own will give the opportunity to savour all the charming historical sites, cobbled roads, narrow streets, steep alleys and hidden gems tucked away down twisting paths. The rolling hillsides are utterly breathtaking, especially when up high along the old walls.
After several laps and numerous kilometres, we felt we justly deserved some refreshments. The tasty samples from shop fronts of fresh locally baked bread, divine cheeses and exquisite Foie Gras. We decided to find a quiet little bar to experience a more personalised and interactive wine tasting session coupled with a lazy late lunch. Our search brought us slightly off the main drag and to the doors of Sous La Robe, a modern space modelled into a period building. Service here was beyond impeccable, the generous staff along with the in-house sommelier took us on an incredible wine journey without having to leave the relaxing ambience of the bar. Food was great too, with a slice of this and a sliver of that! We highly recommend this bar!
We left around a quarter to five affording us the 20 or so minute walk to the station for the 17:19 train service back to Bordeaux. There is a taxi service if you feel the day has taken its toll. The hike back to station is actually fun, you’ll probably see some of the same groups that arrived with you, light in head but heavy in hand with bottles bought from one of the many wine stores!
Visiting Saint-Émilion is a lot of fun, just make sure you have a clear itinerary for the day. We bought some wine to take back with us to remember and savour the flavours of Bordeaux and stunning Saint-Émilion.