A monolith church in St Emilion!

SO let me bring you back south along the coast and  a bit inland. I have criss cross this area numerouis times but sadly admit only passed by this wonderful monument as was more looking for the wines of the area.

Nevertheless, I like to record it in my blog and future visits should include more of the monument. I will tell you briefly about the Church of Saint Emilion.

The monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion is an old 11C church entirely dug into the rock, located in the town of Saint-Emilion dept 33 Gironde in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.. It is the largest underground church in Europe, located under Place des Créneaux and Place du Clocher.

Saint Emilion

The Church of Saint Emilion is made up of a nave and two collaterals of roughly equal dimensions with the central nave rising eleven meters. It has six spans separated by large monolithic pillars. The choir presents bas-reliefs under the vault, on the internal face of the pillars and on the western wall. Altars are located near the main entrance, on the window side. Medieval catacombs adjoin the western part of the access gallery in the church. The church has a bell tower 53 meters high.

According to tradition, in the 8C, the Breton monk Émilion (native of Vannes dept 56 Morbihan mine!) , after having taken his vows in Saujon, established himself as a hermit near what later became the city of Saint-Emilion. He built an oratory, the hermitage of Saint Emilion and at his death in 767, his disciples dug a modest underground passage in stone.

The date of construction of the Church of Saint Emilion is not known with precision. An inscription on the 3rd south pillar of the nave indicates that the church was dedicated to Saint Emilion on the seventh day of the Ides of December. This inscription can be dated to the end of the 11C or the beginning of the 12C. It may correspond to the consecration of the place as a place of worship.

The Church of Saint Emilion suffered from the sale of it during the French revolution in 1793. Its was reuse as a saltpeter factory to make gunpowder, made all wall decoration disappear completely. The sculptures which once must have been numerous have practically all disappeared. In 1999, the entire jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion, including the monolithic church, was listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

More info in English at the tourist office here: Tourist office of Saint Emilion on the Church

And the city of St Emilion has a bit more in French here: City of St Emilion on heritage

So there you go another wonderful monument and well need the detour to see it more ,in the meantime there my single photo on it above. Hope you enjoy it to come in and will this post remind me to do so in the future. After all, Saint Emilion was Breton from Vannes, my now capital city!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!





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2 Comments to “A monolith church in St Emilion!”

  1. We visited St Emilion back in October and thought it a charming spot. You may have spotted a few doors from there on my Thursday’s Doors post today.

    Liked by 1 person

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