The history of the village of Saint-Emilion dates back to the eighth century when the hermit Saint Emilion settled in this village, thus, various religious communities followed this Monk and settled near the village.
Today, Bacchus excavates the underground of the village. The basements were once catacombs, it was the old funerary center of Aquitaine …
You should know that the underground of Saint Emilion are only made of limestone, which will serve to build the houses, buildings and all the surrounding cities including Bordeaux!
In the XVII and XVII the quarries undertook huge limestone extraction projects under the village and its surroundings. There are about 200 kilometers of underground galleries, sometimes up to 6 levels underground!
Today, the galleries still exist, most are now private (some producers use these underground as barrel cellars, wine storage …) and some secure parts, are open to visitors but have strongly advised against venturing there alone because you could get lost in the unfurnished galleries and your mobile phone would be of no use to you!
Note that some vineyards collapse in these galleries which constitute a real Gruyère. How do I? The only way is to concrete these galleries… It lacks charm, certainly but no other ideas at the moment. The problem is that when you start consolidating the soil, it is difficult to know the volume of concrete needed because the galleries do not stop… hardly ever…
Another anecdote? During the war, some Jewish families were able to hide in these galleries. The Saint-Emilions even ventured to erect walls to hide them from the Germans who had appropriated many domains. Cobwebs were added to give an aged look to the wall!
What is possible to visit underground in Saint Emilion?
The Cave of Emilion
When the Monk Emilion arrived in the village he settled in a cave to pray and help people who came to ask for his help.
In this cave what is found are seat, do you know the legend around this seat? the answer in our latest article… There is also his bed, an altar intended for the prayer and a water source that would also have helped the hermit in the performance of his miracles
The Chapel of Trinite
This Chapel is located exactly above the cave of Emilion, it was built at the beginning of the XIIIth century. There are still magnificent paintings on the wall that are remained in good condition thanks to a cooper! This cooper established his workshop in the Chapel during the French Revolution. Thus, to make the fold the wooden staves to form a barrel, the smoke from the fire went to the ceiling and a cloud of soot covered the paintings. Several years later, the Chapel barrel cleaned and the paintings were rediscovered in excellent condition thanks to a soot!
The Monolithic Church
Arriving at the Place du market, we do not suspect that behind the stained glass windows is such a large monolithic church, the largest in Europe! This church was dug in limestone. In the past, relics were exhibited and the bells were sounded. bells of the bell tower which is above the ground just above the church.
We can also observe ancient paintings and sculptures on the walls as well as an ancient altar of prayer.
Bacchus highly recommends you to discover these incredible places! You can even discover the village, its underground and its wines during a Bacchus Wine Tour punctuated by wine tastings!
If you want to know more about the monk Emilion, check out our article from May 2018: click here