France: Bordeaux

Saint Emilion and area

Saint Emilion, its satellites and Côtes de Castillon and Francs
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 22 March 2010
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Events

Fête de Saint Emilion

Throughout summer, Saint Emilion holds many festivals. One of the best is the Fête de Saint Emilion, usually over the third weekend of June. Expect processions, wine tastings, music, and special château openings.

 

La Nuit du Patrimoine

Usually held the third weekend of September, there are festivities all over the region, but one of the best is in Saint Emilion. It coincides with the Announcement of the Harvest and involves a traditional procession through the streets by the Jurade de Saint Emilion, in their robes and finery, then a musical procession by local bands, fireworks at midnight, and a lot of very, very drunken revellers.

 

Les Grandes Heures de Saint Emilion

An excellent way to get inside some of the best châteaux like Cheval Blanc, this series of classical and jazz concerts takes place from March to December. The format tends to be a sit-down concert, followed by a tasting of the relevant château’s wine (perhaps Petit Cheval instead of Cheval Blanc, but who’s complaining?).

Useful information: Cost usually is around €10, and details of the programme can be found at the tourist office.

 

Battle of Castillon

On 17 July 1453, English forces were finally driven from Aquitaine after losing this historic battle, which many historians consider to be the official end of the Hundred Years’ War. Every July and August, the thrashing of the English is re-enacted over a number of weekends. It really is a great spectacle – horses pounding over distant hills, a two-hour show performed on a 7-ha ‘stage’ with fireworks to end the night.

Useful information: Bookings - Tel: 05 57 40 14 53 or www.batailledecastillon.com

 

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