Ramble #1, Part 2

After we left Bordeaux, we drove to the rather smallish town of Fronsac (population: 300). Fronsac is near the famous wine-growing region of St. Emilion, home of some of the finest (and highest priced) wines in the world. Here we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast that could serve as the model for all B&Bs: it was just wonderful. More on that later…

St. Emilion

We’d heard much about how beautiful the town of St.Emilion is: on a hilltop, overlooking vineyards, wonderful streets to wander about, etc., etc. True, true and not so true. St. Emilion realized someday not too long ago that there was money not just in wine, but in catering to all the tourists and so it gussied itself up for them. The result is that, for me at least, the town of St. Emilion is too pretty, too cute and too touristy. I overheard a couple comments that sum it up: an English woman in a tour group, asking her guide, “Do these stores take credit cards?” Do they ever… And another group of young women discussing their afternoon schedule and concluding, “That means we have an hour to shop before we have to do anything.”

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St. Emilion does have some good things to see. The best I cannot show, as pictures were not allowed. It’s an underground church, carved out of the stone that makes up the hill on which St. Emilion sits. This is no small church: 40 yards long, 30 yards wide and 40 ft high. It was started sometime around the end of the 11th century or start of the 12th and was completed in something like 50 years. 15,000 cubic meters of rock were removed to make it. It is yuuuuuge!

St. Emilion does offer some beautiful sights…

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We never miss a chance to visit a cloister.

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Taken from the top of St. Emilion looking down on a square. This picture is taken from above the underground church; its entrance is below us.

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A rare sighting: a priest in a soutaine. Even rarer: it is a young priest. Not many of them around.

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Gotta love a bit of whimsy…

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One Response to Ramble #1, Part 2

  1. Susan says:

    So enjoying your rambles and depictions of the beautiful towns. I think I am walking next to you!

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