Day trip from Bordeaux- Saint Emilion in Wine Country

You’d be hard pressed to enter any wine shop in this world and not find something from one of the world’s most famous wine regions- Bordeaux. Wine production in the Bordeaux area accounts for an astonishing 14.5 billion euro ($20 billion USD) of revenue for the region annually, which is more than the entire GDP of many of the world’s poorest or smallest nations. The town is a fantastic place to kick back for a few days, and an absolute must day trip from Bordeaux is to the town of Saint Emilion in wine country.

View of Saint Emilion and nearby vineyards
If you’re not renting a car it’s not a problem- you can do an easy 35km train ride from Bordeaux’s Gare St. Jean train station to Saint Emilion which takes about 40 minutes each way and costs 18 euro ($25 USD) round trip. Be certain to validate each leg of your journey as French TGV train tickets are valid for 2 months and must be stamped from one of the yellow ticket machines on the station platform. We were actually unaware of this and when the train conductor came to check tickets she made us aware and cut us a huge break by not fining us. It’s a lucky we didn’t get a conductor who was having a bad day, otherwise we would have received a hefty fine. If you forget to validate your train ticket it is your responsibility to seek out a train conductor and inform them, don’t let them come to you first.

The train ride is quite comfortable and you’ll be privy to some excellent views of vineyards and chateaus, especially as you get closer to Saint Emilion. Once you arrive at the small station you’ll need to walk about 1km to reach one of France’s most beautiful towns and a UNESCO world heritage site, due to how immaculately well preserved the exteriors of every building in town are. The interiors are a different story, housing an abundance of chic wine shops, restaurants, sweet shops and gift shops. Saint Emilion is touristy, but some places are touristy for a reason- because they are awesome. After a few hours strolling through this magnificent town, Bell and I both fell in love with it and declared it one of our absolute favorite European towns. The walk leading up to the town is also very nice and you walk right alongside vineyards.

We had planned to rent a bicycle and cycle through the lush vineyard filled hills of the region to several of the towns neighboring chateaus. But with July temperatures that day reaching 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), we chose not to labor and argue for the rest of the day and scrapped that plan. Along with lower prices, fall and spring are better times to visit this region because you’re less likely to be bogged down with heat and can partake in more activities. Scorching temperatures also mean you probably won’t be in the mood to drink what Bordeaux is most famous for- red wine. Though fortunately the Bordeaux area also produces enjoyable white wines which Bell doubly appreciated as she’s unfortunately allergic to the tannins in red wine.

The wine overflows in Saint Emilion, but amazingly not bottled water in shops. We had to pass through several shops before finally being able to purchase some cold water. Be sure to have some water when you arrive at the small train station as there isn’t anyplace to buy it in that area. To cool off we also enjoyed some wonderful sorbet from one of several ice cream vendors. If you like tart flavors, we highly recommend getting a scoop of passion fruit as it was pretty much the best sorbet we’ve ever had.

day trip from bordeaux, passion fruit sorbet
Saint Emilion has a rather steep climb on tricky cobblestone streets so be sure to wear good walking shoes! When you reach the top of town you’ll be rewarding with a stunning panoramic view of nearby wineries and the town below. It’s a view you will never forget and one of the many scenic things in life where the pictures don’t do it justice.

We frequently day dream about returning to drink vino and dine at the Amelia Canta.
We frequently daydream about returning to drink vino and dine in St. Emilion

For just 6.50 euro ($8.50 USD) you can catch a short mini train ride around some wineries and the tours lasts around 30 minutes. But at this point Bell and I were getting hungry and thirsty for vino. We highly recommend having wine and dinner in the main square as it’s one of the most beautiful settings we’ve ever dined in. And the prices are absolutely awesome considering you could pay the same money to eat pub food in Dublin. The Amelia Canta restaurant rests in a stunning setting with a great view of the Monolithic Church of St. Emilion. There’s a few other neighboring restaurants in the square, so have a look at the menus, see which canard (duck) dish you’d like to indulge in (for vegetarians there is unfortunately no soy foie gras options), order some wine and savor the ambiance. St. Emilion is not to be missed if you’re in Bordeaux!

The main square of Saint Emilion is a pretty tough setting to top when it comes to dining out.
The main square of Saint Emilion is a pretty tough setting to top when it comes to dining out. Eating here reminded us of the film ‘The Way,’ about hiking the Camino de Santiago, which begins in France.

 

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Dinner in Saint Emilion day trip from bordeaux
 

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day trip from bordeaux - Saint Emilion wine

6 thoughts on “Day trip from Bordeaux- Saint Emilion in Wine Country

    1. Yes it is a rather inspiring place! Bell and I would absolutely love to return. I also have Cognac on my mind as that’s just 120 km north of Bordeaux!

    1. Haha! The Tour de Chateau…love it! Yeah Medoc is also meant to be amazing for wine tasting, as is Cadillac for those that like sweet fortified wines. I was going to do a day trip to Cadillac (sounds pretty classy) the last day of Bell’s conference but there was no train there and I had just missed one of the infrequent buses. Pity as the town looked beautiful on the tourism video in the hotel room and yes, the car is named after that town!

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