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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Main towns and villages

Saint Emilion

A UNESCO World Heritage site, and easily the most tourist-friendly town in the whole of the Bordeaux region. Saint Emilion has two main squares, the Place du Clocher and the Place du Marché, linked together by winding cobbled streets with an alarmingly steep incline. They are used to visitors here, and although you might find that the wine costs a bit more in the plentiful local shops, you’ll get knowledgeable staff who speak English. Named after an 8th century Breton monk, the town is still marked by him through a number of underground monuments and catacombs.


This was the last English stronghold in the 100 Years War, and the site of the final battle that saw the English retreat from France with their tails between their legs. Today, it’s a smart if somewhat sleepy town, located right on the banks of the Dordogne River, with well preserved 18th century architecture and an interesting Maison du Vin (see 'Wine Shops'.

Saint Foy la Grande

A 13th century bastide (fortified town) also on the banks of the Dordogne, and home to one of the region’s best markets every Saturday morning. Just 20 minutes from Bergerac, you can easily explore both the Dordogne and the Gironde from a base here. The nearby Port Saint Foy is a good starting point for walks along the river, and has a few interesting restaurants.

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