After arriving back in St Emilion we took a tour of the underground church. It brought to life the story of St Emilion, a monk with a vision. He gathered a few thousand workmen and dug an underground cavernous monolithic church apparently modelled on one he saw in Cappadoccia. This was when he wasn’t meditating in his small Chapel where he lived in solitude for several years. I love these stories. It’s amazing what one shy monk can do.
the undergound Church of St Emilion
The hour long tour keep us cool and the history lesson was great as well. All English speakers and it’s funny how you can identify other Australians in a group. The older ones all have a “Chips Rafferty” look of weathered skin and dry humour and the younger ones look like they would rather be back on the beach in Biarritz. The English are easy to see in their socks and sandals, and the Americans…….. Well we didn’t have any on tour , so I don’t have to be careful about what I say John Donati!
I know I’m not in Italy but i couldn’t resist!
Following that tour we visited our bar with the fan misters for a quick beer then headed off for an hour in the vineyards. The area is very pretty with vines growing in neat even rows with large chateaux sitting in the middle of the vineyards making everything look like a fairytale. Even the Chanel family own a property here. One of the owners came over to our group ( not Mr Chanel I would have recognised the loafers) and on hearing we were from Australia said ” very good Shiraz from there” We felt quite patriotic!
Looking back across rhe vineyards towards St Emilion.
Neat even rows.
Our lovely room at the B&B overlooks one of the main cobbled streets into St Emilion but there was very little noise. It’s a rather hushed small town. Probably because of the heat and the wine tastings. People are moving slowly and quietly around the streets.
So we slept well, did our hand washing and headed off to Libourne for a train to Bordeaux. It only takes a half hour so we were there by 10.30. The city sits along the river Girond and has a beautiful stretch of river with gorgeous low rise pale stone buildings with decorative balconies in the style of Louis XV. There is an open plaza with beautiful tall trees in rows providing shade and cool. The buildings are superb. Decorative without being gaudy.
We decided the city looked too big for the few hours we allowed so we took a small yellow bus tour. The bus is a single story with only 20 seats and gives an hour overview to the main sites around the city. It got off to a very funny start as when we went to get on having booked, there were no seats for us and about 8 others. No one owned up to being on the wrong bus so the driver had to get his superior to come and check the tickets! Very funny as a group of Spaniards had missed their earlier bus and decided this one would suit. They refused to get off and there was a bit of an Opera unfolding but the French won the war and off we went.
Come along as I show you some photos
The main plaza covered in trees.
Girondiers monument in the main square.
Beautiful green space where there had been a guillotine for public beheadings!