Tourism in Saint-Émilion, get off the beaten track!
Twenty educational tables to discover the first vineyard to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site: opt for tourism that takes its time, in the sea of vines of the Juridiction of Saint-Émilion.
Saint-Emilion vineyard, a heritage to discover
Since 1999, the Saint-Émilion vineyard has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A unique cultural landscape, built up over 800 years of history. It was well worth the effort to set up a real discovery trail in Saint-Émilion, but also in the seven surrounding communes, which form the Juridiction of Saint-Émilion.* For this purpose, twenty reading tables have been installed in the area. They are the joint work of the photographer Franck Haudiquert and the historian David Souny.
To remedy this, the historian and the photographer have travelled the Juridiction to select places that are both surprising, full of history, aesthetic and accessible. The result is twenty panels, including the troglodyte sanctuary of Saint-Emilion, the Tour du Roy (Saint-Emilion), the menhir of the port of Pierrefitte (Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens) and the caves of Ferrand (Saint-Hippolyte).
“We chose very atypical places, where we could have different views. For example, in Saint-Émilion, you have the view of what you see and the view of the place where you are. It’s a bit the same for all the other places. Franck Haudiquert, photographer.
* Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Étienne- de-Lisse, Saint-Pey-d’Armens, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens and Vignonet.
Juridiction of Saint-Émilion, the praise of slow tourism
To discover their work, the two Saint-Émilion enthusiasts have only one piece of advice: slow down! Considered as a must-see place, Saint-Émilion is too often visited “on the run”.
“The aim is really to encourage people to take the time to move around. We’re more interested in a gentle route, not in mass tourism with a circuit that could be done by bus from panel to panel”. David Souny, historian.
Some tables have been installed on sites that involve walking through the vineyards, such as the one at the Tourans cross, on the heights of Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse. However, the idea is not to offer a 3-hour walk, but a 20-minute walk, for a family audience, to discover the superb panorama and to have explanations on the history of the surroundings.
To explore this cultural landscape, Franck Haudiquert also advises visitors to “lose themselves” in the Juridiction of Saint-Emilion, without trying to follow the tables in a precise order.
Finally, you should know that this signposting is aimed as much at visitors who want to discover the diversity of the territory as at the inhabitants who have always lived in the heart of these landscapes, without necessarily being aware of their wealth. So don’t hesitate to spend a whole day immersed in the area and to come back and explore it in different seasons.
Enjoy your walk through the cultural landscapes of the Juridiction of Saint-Emilion!