With the visit to Saint-Émilion in October, I have checked yet another item off my bucket list: to visit Saint-Émilion in every month.
Saint-Émilion really is a lovely place that I never get tired of visiting. Whether it’s bringing friends from out of province to see its medieval beauty, or just getting away from the city for a few hours by myself, I can always enjoy the little town’s exquisite atmosphere in every season. The surrounding vineyards never cease to amaze me, and there seems to be a never-ending maze of narrow streets through which I can leisurely navigate without turning back.
With the help of a simple collage creator (no need to mess with tables 😉 ), I compiled some of the pictures that I took during each trip to Saint-Émilion in hopes of capturing its essence in every shot. There were some disappointments (no snow this year!) but oh, how it mesmerizes me, even today!
January (Jan. 20, 2013)
I went with the intention of capturing Saint-Émilion by night. In January, it was usually “dark” by 6:30, which was when some of these photos were taken, but not dark enough. Unfortunately I had to catch the train back to Bordeaux (the one after would be two hours later!) and so this was as close to “night” as I could get. The streets were almost isolated without a soul to be seen, but I loved how the calmness contrasted with the tourist-filled atmosphere of the summer seasons.
February (Feb. 23, 2013)
I think this was the only time that it was raining when I went to Saint-Émilion. The vast vineyards on the way from the train station to the town are always so majestic and impressive, even during the winter when the grapes aren’t around. I was really anticipating snow during this time of the year, and yes, it snowed, except…I only saw several flakes of snow floating here and there. I guess I wouldn’t be seeing Saint-Émilion covered in snow any time soon… 😦
March (Mar. 08, 2013)
This trip was made with my friend LY who was visiting me from Belgium. Of course I had to bring him to Saint-Émilion, even if it was only for half a day. As soon as we arrived at the train station, LY realized that he left his memory card in his computer. By then I figured I’ve taken more than plenty of photos of Saint-Émilion, so I lent him mine so that he wouldn’t have to miss out on probably his only trip to this place. (After that, I made sure I’d always have a spare memory card in my bag, just in case 😛 )
April (Apr. 24, 2011)
Aha, first trip to Saint-Émilion back in 2011! I went with my university Indian-Canadian nanohomie Chahat when she came for a visit to Bordeaux from London. We took a tour with the Bordeaux tourist office (the only time I didn’t go by train) where we dropped by two châteaux for some wine-tasting as well as went into the underground monolithic church in the centre of Saint-Émilion. The journey to becoming a wine connoisseur has begun…though now, almost three years later, I still know absolutely nothing about good wine 😦
May (May 13, 2012)
The trip in May was made last year with my friends Sharon and Cindy, and it made me wonder why we didn’t travel together more often before we went separate ways. It was so much fun spending time with these ladies, especially in such a cute town!
June (Jun. 13, 2011)
My second visit to Saint-Émilion was with a group of 6 including myself, this time taking the train from Bordeaux. It was during this visit that I started to get a good feel of the town, since the trip with the tourist office gave us limited time to explore the vicinity of Saint-Émilion. Those green grapes looked pretty sour…such temptation to pluck them!
July (Jul. 10, 2011)
Third visit to Saint-Émilion was with four other ladies, back in the days when summer really meant vacation time. Unfortunately all of us are scattered all around the globe now, but I definitely hope that one day we’ll be able to have a reunion…somewhere!
August (Aug. 31, 2013)
August 2013 had been an extremely busy month for me as I was preparing for the submission of my thesis, but thank God that August has 31 days and August 31st fell on a Saturday this year! During this visit I realized that the cloister hidden behind the cathedral is probably my favourite place in Saint-Émilion. Tourists come and go but I loved the serene atmosphere of the cloister. I especially liked to sit between two columns and just breathe the fresh air and feel the gentle breeze on my face. When it’s 35 degrees outside, the cloister is the coolest (literally!) place to be to hide from the heat!
September (Sep. 20, 2013)
By September, the grapes on the vines have all turned dark blue and look ready to be harvested. Now would probably be a great time to taste some of those delicious looking grapes… 😉
October (Oct. 01, 2013)
For the final trip which took place on the first day of October this year (less than two weeks ago only?) I took an early train and got to Saint-Émilion before the time I usually wake up in the morning. The best part of the trip was once again the alone time in the cloister, where I leaned against a column with my legs stretched straight in front of me. I closed my eyes and while taking in the fact that I’d be leaving for Belgium in two days, fell into a light sleep. It was perhaps the most comfortable and refreshing sleep/nap that I’ve had for a long, long time, and I felt so happy, so satisfied.
November (Nov. 24, 2012)
The trip to Saint-Émilion in late November last year was made with a colleague that was doing an exchange in my lab for four months. It was my the first trip where I brought Mr.Nikon with me, and I think the bucket list idea initiated right before this trip. It was late-autumn, almost the beginning of winter, and the colours of autumn were absolutely gorgeous.
December (Dec. 23, 2012)
Finally, the December trip was the one where I realized how many CATS there were in Saint-Émilion. Seriously. They were EVERYWHERE. That fluffy yellow one has got to be my favourite one though. Nyah! ❤
So, in a nutshell, thank you, Saint-Émilion, for being my little secret place during the past three years. I think if I were to stay in Bordeaux in the long run, I would still run to you from time to time just to get a dose of relaxation and personal time. I would have loved to bring my friends Ara and SF and especially my dad to Saint-Émilion, but unfortunately the timing is quite hard to coordinate. And I'll definitely try to meet with my friend Stephane before I leave France…en janvier, peut-être? 😉