After chucking everything into the van rather quickly we set about making our way to St Emillion, a village famed for its vineyards and fine wines. It should have taken an hour and half but the traffic was awful, on top of that it was the hottest day since we’d been away, 31 degrees, instead of lying on a beach we were sweltering in a van with no air con stuck in a queue.
When we finally arrived in St Emillon our satnav, voiced by John Cleese took us into a warren of narrow streets totally unsuitable for a van, so much so that we had to reverse out of one street, turn John off and head for a main road. We ended up parking outside St Emillion and walked up to the village, so far, not impressed.
We stopped at a little restaurant called Le Mediavel for some food, expectations were not high but we were pleasantly suprised. Lolly had a fish lasagne and I had steak and chips, both really good and 9 euros each which is bloody cheap!
After food we took ourselves around the village while we waited for Lolly’s parents to arrive, the sun was beating down so we headed inside a church which was cool in more ways than one, whilst not religious at all I quite like churches for their architecture, especially proper old ones like this, I often wonder how they managed to build such amazing spaces with no modern assistance like cranes, diggers and cement mixers, clearly they managed.
As we left the church Lolly’s phone rang and Lindi, Lolly’s mum advised they had arrived. It was Lauren’s Dad Ian’s birthday and Lindi had booked us into a studio apartment for the night, we picked up the keys, opened some wine and toasted Ian a happy birthday!
We didn’t quite realise the time and before we knew it the sun had gone down and it was 9 in the evening. We were all hungry and set about trying to find somewhere that still had their kitchen open and wouldn’t mind Hardy the dog coming too, after a bit of wandering and disappointment we came across Logis De La Cadene who said they would happily entertain the 5 of us.
What we didn’t notice was that this was a gastronomique restaurant, in essence very posh grub in a very posh restaurant, there were bottles of wine on the menu for 1500 euros upwards! I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the food was, I had octopus to start with 3 different cuts of pork for my main and a kind of Black Forest gateau but assembled in a completely different way for dessert. I didn’t take any pictures as I didn’t think it was appropriate in such a high end establishment! We had a fantastic evening with some of the finest food I’ve eaten and the nicest thing of all was they let Hardy sit with us at the table inside the restaurant, he was impeccably behaved!
The following morning we got up, checked out and made our way to the land train tour of St Emillion, you sit on a train and head around the vineyards and the tour explains a bit of history for each one, about halfway through we stopped off at one and were given a tour of the vineyards and the cellar which was quite impressive, you are then taken to the shop, taught how to taste wine properly and then given a price list for all the wine you could buy, if the land train hadn’t come so quickly we’d probably have bought a few bottles.
This particular vineyard is at the top of the village and the views are quite lovely.
The tour continues around for about another 20 minutes and then drops you back to where you started.
Our second tour was an organic vineyard that Lindi had organised, the vineyard was called Chateau Coutet, the tour consisted of us, a Chinese couple with a kid and the girl who gave the tour, all of the other vineyards rely on various chemicals, insecticides and modified processes to make their wine and they all think this lot are mental as they use none, it’s 100% organic, the wine they make is fantastic, so much so Lindi bought two magnums and about 4 smaller bottles, I don’t even like wine and I thought it tasted lovely.
From there we headed back to town to grab some food, en route we came across some nice cars.
We also came across a nice ruined abbey.
Despite the rocky start we really enjoyed our time in St Emillion and i definitely recommend it for a day trip. We jumped in the vans and made for Chateau Coup near Argentat, good times ahead.
As a side note we’ve now clocked over a thousand miles on our trip, woo hoo!!