We’re in the Dordogne region now, which is to say the area along the Dordogne river. It’s famous for a number of things including great wine, ancient cave drawings, and picturesque villages and chateaux. That’s a lot to see, leaving little time to blog about it.
On the way to our next stop in La Rocque Gageac, we stopped to take a look at Saint-Émilion. It’s a small village with only about a thousand residents, but is far more interesting that its size might suggest. In the interest of time, I’m not going to repeat what you can read elsewhere. The article I linked above will tell you something of the 35,000 year history.
We parked on the village edge. There were cautionary tales about how crowded it could be, but we found a comfortable number of people and no crowding. The first thing we noticed was the “Great Wall”, the remains of an ancient church.
This was followed by a memorial to the First World War dead. You’ll see these all over the country. All over Europe, actually.
Entering the village, our attention was drawn by the church, so in we went. I took photos of things I liked: some fine wood carving on the pulpit, a statue of a saint, and a few bits of surviving ancient fresco.
It’s interesting to compare the state of an old column to a new replacement. The local limestone is not hard and it ages quickly.
Saint-Émilion is divided into high and low parts. As we began the descent to the lower village, we discovered that the old stones are slippery even on a dry day!
Part way down, I came across an excellent table-for-two at a small restaurant. It’s kind of built into a niche in the wall alongside the pathway.
Looking up at the church in the upper village past the remains of a lower village church.
The lower village is given over to shops, restaurants and housing. A lot of the commerce is wine. I imagine that if you know your wines, this place would be heaven. I do not, so the offerings were largely wasted on me. I did notice one bottle on offer for about $15,000. I don’t suppose they sell many.
I saw this little robot before we began the climb back to the upper village and headed on our way.