On a Sunday afternoon my brother and his coworkers and I took a trip 35 km out of Bordeaux to the vineyards surrounding Saint- Émilion. The village, now a World Heritage site, was overrun with day-trippers (like us), souvenir shops, and wine stores. An easy five-minute stroll in one direction landed me in a quiet street with no signs of tourism and great views of the beautiful town and surrounding vineyards.

We toured and tasted at one of the many wineries on the outside of town and took a walking tour through the historic sites, most notably the hermitage carved into the rock of the 8th century monk and travelling confessor, Émilion. The monks who followed him started up the commercial wine production in the area.

Before leaving, we visited a huge church carved into the limestone cliff which was reminiscent of the churches I had seen in Cappadocia, Turkey, the previous year.

Text and photo by Stephen Bugno