For many, the name St. Emilion conjures up the taste of rich red wines, but the town itself (about 25 mi/40 km northeast of Bordeaux) is worth a visit.

St. Emilion is elegant and cozy, with lots of cobbled streets, medieval buildings and romantic views. It is surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see. Most of the famous sites (including Europe's largest underground church) can be seen only as part of the excellent official tour run by the tourist office. Make reservations when you get to town.

And, of course, don't forget to visit a few of the famous wine chateaus in St. Emilion. You may also want to take an introductory class in oenology (the study of wine), or an introduction to wine tasting at either the L'Ecole du Vin de St. Emilion or the adjacent Maison du Vin. Classes are also offered through the tourist office, mid-July to mid-September. The tourist office also offers maps for eight different hiking routes in the surrounding area.

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