SAINT EMILION SUNSET

A Day Trip to Saint Émilion from Bordeaux

About Saint Émilion

Saint-Émilion, a charming town located in the Aquitaine region of France, rests approximately 47 kilometers to the west of Bordeaux and 590 kilometers to the south of Paris. As of 2019, the population of Saint-Émilion numbered 1,859.

The town’s name, Saint-Émilion, finds its origins in the 8th Century when it was named after an Iberic Saint named Saint Aemilianus. This devout hermit quickly rose to prominence due to his miraculous deeds, including the restoration of a blind woman’s sight, which made him a household name. Under Saint Aemilianus’s guidance, Saint-Émilion began to evolve into a significant religious center. His devout followers preserved his legacy and, in his honor, named the town Saint-Émilion.

Surrounded by picturesque and serene vineyards, this historic village has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 for its exceptional cultural landscapes.

Sustainability in Tourism

The World Tourism Organization has identified tourism as one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing sectors. According to Our World in Data, the number of international tourists has surged from 25 million in 1950 to a staggering 1.4 billion in 2018, representing a remarkable 5500% growth rate.

Extensive research has unequivocally demonstrated that tourism places substantial stress on local environments, contributes to environmental pollution, and poses threats to various species. It is imperative that we intensify our efforts and adopt deliberate actions to ensure our travels have a meaningful and positive impact.

Furthermore, there is undeniable evidence that human activities are driving climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are currently experiencing the hottest decade in the past 125,000 years, with CO2 levels at their highest and global ice melting at an unprecedented rate. Climate change now imperils every facet of our ecosystem, affecting both human and animal life. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, tourism is responsible for approximately 5% of global emissions and contributes to 22% of all transport emissions, making it a notably energy-intensive industry.

Embarking on a meaningful journey begins with conscious choices aimed at safeguarding local communities and nature, thereby mitigating the negative impact on the environment. Being a responsible traveler entails considering our actions and their effects on the destinations we visit.

Related Article: 5 Reasons Why Responsible Travel Matters?

Saint Emilion

Exploring Saint-Émilion: A UNESCO World Heritage Gem

Saint-Émilion, a captivating medieval village nestled in the heart of the enchanting Bordeaux wine region, is a place where history, wine, and architectural splendor coalesce. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a history enthusiast, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has something to offer for everyone.

Located just a half-day trip away from Bordeaux, the village is easily accessible via the Saint-Émilion train station, which is conveniently within a 15-20 minute (1.6 km) walk. This leisurely stroll allows you to soak in the picturesque surroundings and build anticipation for the treasures that await you.

Once within the village’s enchanting medieval walls, you’ll discover a plethora of experiences. Saint-Émilion is renowned for its prestigious wines, ranging from world-class labels to charming boutique producers. You’ll have the opportunity to both purchase and taste these exquisite wines at various shops and cellars scattered throughout the village.

In addition to its exceptional wines, Saint-Émilion boasts a thriving culinary scene. The village hosts numerous restaurants offering delightful French cuisine. Whether you’re seeking a gourmet meal or a quick bite to eat, you’ll find options to satiate your palate.

As you explore the winding cobblestone streets of Saint-Émilion, hidden gems and historical monuments will reveal themselves at every turn. Venture to the upper part of the village, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, vineyards, and the Dordogne Valley.

A visit to Saint-Émilion typically takes around 2 to 3 hours, allowing you to leisurely wander, absorb the village’s beauty, and perhaps enjoy a memorable meal. Please note that the cobblestone streets, while charming, can be hilly and occasionally slippery, so comfortable footwear is advisable.

Whether you’re savoring the world-famous wines, appreciating the historical landmarks, or simply basking in the ambiance of this medieval gem, Saint-Émilion promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Bordeaux’s rich heritage.

Chateau Coutet organic wine

Château Coutet: A Celebrated Organic Winemaking Legacy

For over four centuries, Château Coutet has stood as a venerable institution in the world of winemaking. Nestled within the picturesque landscape of Saint-Émilion, this historic estate has not only thrived for generations but has also embraced the principles of organic viticulture with unwavering dedication.

The illustrious DAVID-BEAULIEU family, stewards of Château Coutet for an impressive 14 generations, have adhered to a profound commitment: crafting Great Wine of Saint-Émilion while preserving the integrity of the terroir and the delicate harmony of the natural surroundings.

Spanning a total of 16 hectares, the estate’s vineyards are home to a diverse array of grape varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. What sets Château Coutet apart is its steadfast commitment to traditional and sustainable farming methods, where horses and skilled harvesters play pivotal roles in the cultivation process. Over the course of these fourteen generations, Château Coutet has honed the art of winemaking, doing so as naturally as possible, devoid of harmful chemicals. This practice yields a wine of exceptional purity, and it fosters an environment where indigenous wild tulips, orchids, and a thriving ecosystem of wildlife flourish in harmonious coexistence.

A visit to Château Coutet is an authentic and enlightening experience. The tour is characterized by its welcoming and unpretentious ambiance, reflecting the family’s genuine passion for their craft. Beyond learning about the intricacies of organic viticulture, visitors are granted access to the family’s private cellar, a sacred space where time-honored winemaking traditions are upheld. The journey culminates with a delightful wine tasting, allowing guests to savor the fruits of this exceptional labor of love.

If you’re in search of an unassuming, boutique-style, family-run organic winegrower, Château Coutet comes highly recommended. It offers an opportunity to delve into the heart and soul of winemaking, where tradition, commitment to nature, and an authentic sense of place are seamlessly intertwined.

Saint emilion train station

How to Get to Saint-Émilion from Bordeaux

There’s a direct train service departing from Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station to Saint-Émilion, offering a convenient and efficient option. The train journey takes approximately 40 minutes to cover the 45-kilometer distance. The one-way ticket is priced at €9.50 and can be purchased online or at the station. For the train schedule, please refer to the Timetable Here.

Alternatively, you can opt for a direct drive from Bordeaux to Saint-Émilion, which typically takes around 40 minutes. However, it’s important to note that parking spaces in Saint-Émilion village are limited. For parking-related information, please click Here.

Sustainable travel in saint emilion

How to Explore Saint-Émilion

Exploring Saint-Émilion is a delightful journey that invites you to immerse yourself in its captivating landscapes and rich history. Here are some recommended ways to get around and make the most of your visit:

Stroll Through the Vineyards:

One of the most enchanting experiences in Saint-Émilion is taking a leisurely walk through the lush vineyards. As you wander amidst the neatly manicured rows of grapevines, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views and a deeper appreciation for the region’s renowned wines.

Wander the Medieval Streets:

Meandering through the medieval streets of Saint-Émilion is like stepping back in time. The charming cobblestone pathways, ancient buildings, and hidden nooks and crannies provide endless opportunities for exploration. This delightful walk allows you to soak in the village’s authentic ambiance and discover its historical treasures.

Walking, Hiking, or Biking:

Saint-Émilion offers an array of options for travelers who prefer an active and eco-friendly approach to sightseeing. You can explore the region’s scenic landscapes, majestic monuments, grand châteaux, and unique architecture by foot, go on invigorating hikes, or embark on cycling adventures. These methods not only connect you with the environment but also align with sustainable tourism practices, making your experience even more meaningful.

Moreover, guided tours and local experts are available to provide in-depth insights into the area’s cultural and natural heritage. These tours can add a layer of understanding to your explorations, helping you uncover hidden gems and stories that define Saint-Émilion’s unique character.

The art of getting around Saint-Émilion is all about immersing yourself in its beauty and history. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll through vineyards, a journey through medieval streets, or active pursuits like hiking and biking, there are myriad ways to savor the scenic landscapes, historical monuments, and architectural wonders of this remarkable destination.

Related information: 

Saint emilion electrical bike tour Bordeaux

Electric bike tour in the vineyards of Saint Emilion, near Bordeaux

Starting from Bordeaux, this electric bike ride will take you past incredible vineyard views and famous châteaux. You’ll visit two magnificent estates: a charming family estate and a prestigious Grand Cru Classé. Then, you’ll stroll through the charming medieval village of Saint Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with two stops planned for tasting several famous Bordeaux wines.

saint emilion grapes

Eco-Hotels in Saint-Émilion

Most visitors visit Saint-Émilion only for a day trip, but a night in the romantic medieval village can also be a great experience. Here are a few recommended sustainable properties.

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