So here we go with another selection from the huge number of photos I took during our stay in St Emilion. It is a lovely town, although maybe a bit too touristy for us but frankly I would rather be there, surrounded by the well heeled and beautiful than in places where people shuffle about looking down at heel and miserable.
I would highly recommend a visit to St Emilion for everyone. (Unless you have no head for heights and difficulty walking.) These two views are from the top of the town looking down on the main square. It’s one of those wonderful places where you can hear the faint hum of voices as you approach along the narrow streets. The sound of people enjoying themselves, watching the world go by, maybe having a nice meal and a very nice glass or two of wine.
The sound reminded me of the square in Chinon, or Place Plumereau in Tours, two other good places for a bit of people watching.
This building overlooks that square. I can’t remember what it was or how old it was and we never got to look inside it, which we would have liked. St Emilion is full of buildings that we would have loved to get to see inside.
This is another apparently empty and unused building. We thought it was probably an old warehouse because there were grooves in the stones around the upper windows where decades of hoisting goods up and in the window had worn away the stone.
At the bottom end of town stands this curious little tower. Maybe it was part of a gateway or entrance at one time. Left as it is, looking like a lookout tower, it’s not difficult to imagine that its purpose was for keeping watch over the vineyards, or possibly animals, but it could have been for some other use entirely.
This beautiful building appeared empty and unused but there were notices outside indicating that renovation and redevelopment work was about to start. I was pleased about that and although I don’t know what it was going to become, I would like to go back one day and see how it has worked out. It’s another building that I would have loved to get inside.
There were apparently no such plans for these two buildings, not far from each other, one a house and the other a shop and apartment. Both were in prime positions close to the centre of town and I couldn’t help but wonder how they had come to be empty and neglected. It would be so good to get hold of such places and breathe new life into them.
These were both very much occupied, the sounds and smells of lunch emerging from the open windows. A lot of houses seemed not to be permanent residences, but holiday gites or guest houses. I wonder what St Emilion is like in say November or February, when the summer visitors have left. I hope it’s the kind of town that still has a trickle of visitors all year round. Some places are completely lifeless for half the year if a high proportion of the dwellings are just holiday accommodation.
One last picture of a “typical” street at dusk. Not there are any two streets even vaguely the same. It would be hard to get lost in St Emilion as it’s not that big a town and all the streets are so different that remembering landmarks to find your way around is very easy. We didn’t feel threatened or uncomfortable anywhere. The traffic is awkward in places because the streets were built for horses and carts, not cars, vans and lorries. You have to watch your step as vehicles pick their way through streets where tourists walk in the middle of the road but getting around is easy.