Saint Emilion, France: the Monolithic Church
About Saint Emilion:
Located in what is considered the capital of the Bordeaux wine-growing region, Saint Emilion has been preserved from the ravages of time and tourism. In the 8th Century, a monk named Emilion set up a hermitage here, and as the centuries went on, chapels, houses and fortifications were added. The result is certainly one of the most picturesque towns in France.
The Monolithic Church:
Of most interest to Catholics will be the Monolithic Church (Eglise Monolithe), that sits in the center of the town. It was dug out of the surrounding rock over a period stretching from the 9th to the 13th Centuries, and is the largest underground church in Europe. The portal has 14th Century sculpted images depicting the Last Judgment and the Resurrection.
Guided tours are offered by the tourist office daily. The tours include the Church, the catacombs and the underground grotto where Saint Emilion lived out the later years of his life.
For those in shape for it, a climb up to the top of the bell tower will give a magnificent view of the town and the surrounding vineyards below. You need to go to the tourist office to get a key that will allow you entrance to the tower.
If you can, try to stay at least one night in the area to sample some of the excellent wines and cuisine Saint Emilion and its surroundings.
Traveling to Saint Emilion:
If traveling by train, you can go from Bordeaux to Libourne, about 7 miles (10 KM) from Saint Emilion.
Click here for the best hotels and B&B’s in Emilion, read reviews from Tripadvisor.