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Crystal Symphony Food and Wine Theme Cruise - Barcelona to Dover


10 of 10

St. Emilion, France - Ancient Village Near Bordeaux
St. Emilion, France

The village of St. Emilion, France near Bordeaux

Photo (c) Linda Garrison
The hill village of St. Emilion is only a short distance east of Bordeaux. We took a half day shore excursion to St. Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the Crystal Symphony was in Bordeaux. The 45-minute drive to St. Emilion was very scenic. We crossed the Gironde River and drove through lovely vineyards on the way to the small town that is famous for its wine.

St. Emilion is built into a limestone hill, and its cobblestone streets and ancient buildings look much like the hilltop villages of St-Paul-de-Vence or Eze on the French Riviera.

However, it is what is underground that sets St. Emilion apart. In the 8th century, a hermit named Emilion settled in a small cave with an underground spring. Over the next 500 years the cave was enlarged to make the world's largest monolithic (one rock) cathedral. When you go into the huge open room, it is hard to imagine that it was built hundreds of years ago. I love engineering marvels, and this is certainly one of them. No trip to St. Emilion is complete without going inside this underground cathedral.

After our free time in St. Emilion, we enjoyed wandering around the very hilly town and admiring the gardens and interesting shops.

That evening, the Crystal Symphony sailed down the Gironde River to the Atlantic. Our last day was a sea day, and we sailed across the Bay of Biscay and through the English Channel to Dover, arriving in the early dawn. It had been a wonderful cruise, full of great food, great wine, and great memories.

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