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St Emilion

ST EMILION, a town of south-western France, in the department of Gironde, 25 m. from the right bank of the Dordogne and 27 m. E.N.E. of Bordeaux by rail. Pop. (1906), town, 1091; commune, 3546. The town derives its name from a hermit who lived here in the 7th and 8th centuries. Picturesquely situated on the slope of a hill, the town has remains of ramparts of the 12th and 13th centuries, with ditches hewn in the rock, and several medieval buildings. Of these the chief is the parish, once collegiate, church of the 12th and 13th centuries. A Gothic cloister adjoins the church. A fine belfry (i2th, 13th and isth centuries) commanding the town is built on the terrace, beneath which are hollowed in the rock the oratory and hermitage of St Emilion, and adjoining them an ancient monolithic church of considerable dimensions. Remains of a monastery of the Cordeliers (isth and 17th centuries), of a building (isth century)known as the Palais Cardinal, and a square keep (the chief relic of a stronghold founded by Louis VIII.) are also to be seen. Disused stone quarries in the side of the hill are used as dwellings by the inhabitants. St Emilion is celebrated for its wines. Its medieval importance, due to the pilgrimages to the tomb of the saint and to the commerce in its wines, began to decline towards the end of the 13th century owing to the foundation of Libourne. In 1272 it was the first of the towns of Guyenne to join the confederation headed by Bordeaux.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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