Saint Emilion Chronicles #2: Collegiate Church & Cloisters

Saint Emilion
: The Eglise Collegiale (XII-XV century)

Saint Emilion
: Portal of the Eglise Collegiale (XII-XV century)This is the second post in our series about our trip to Saint Emilion (in the Bordeaux wine region of France) and its beautiful surroundings. In case you missed it, you can find the first post (about the town of Saint Emilion) here.

On this post, we will briefly focus on a beautiful church-clositers complex in Saint Emilion: the Collegiate Church (Eglise Collégiale) and its cloisters.

The Collegiate Church is an imposing Romanesque building that was built between the XII and XV centuries and is considered one of the most impressive churches in the Gironde region.

Saint Emilion
: the cloister of the Eglise Collegiale

Saint Emilion: 
the stained glass windows of the Eglise Collegiale

Supposedly, Arnaud Guiraud de Cabanac gave impulse to start building the Collegiate Church in 1110, even if the church plans were repeatedly modified over time. While the nave was completed in the XII century, the remainder of the Collegiate Church blends together different styles from the XIII to the XVI century.

The facade and main portal of the Collegiate Church are in a beautiful, sober Romanesque style. In addition, a beautiful XIV century Gothic portal on the left flank of the church provides another entrance from Place Pioceau, on the northern side of the XIV century chancel that houses a magnificent listed organ built in 1892 by Gabriel Cavaillé-Colle and XV century carved stalls.

Saint Emilion: 
The cloister of the Eglise Collegiale

Saint Emilion: 
facade of the Eglise Collegiale (XII-XV century)

Inside the church, the Romanesque nave is adorned with nicely restored XII century wall paintings and amazing Gothic stained glass windows, while the statues of the Apostles on the tympanum were partly destroyed in the XVIII century during the French Revolution.

The Gothic cloisters, which impress the visitor due to their architectural elegance, were built on the southern side of the church during the XIII and XIV century, and remodeled during the XV and XVI century.

Saint Emilion: Statue in the Eglise Collegiale (XII-XV century)

The cloisters were built in the shape of a square, with each of the four covered walkways being 98.5 ft/30 mt long and 14.7 ft/4.5 mt wide: elegant arcades support the inner side of the four walkways, which encase a peaceful garden with a cross in the middle, symbolizing the Eden (or Paradise).

The Collegiate Church once hosted Augustinian canons who stayed in the monastery until the end of the French Revolution.

Sources: Travel France Online and

I hope that you enjoyed this second installment of our virtual trip to Saint Emilion… until the next chapter!


17 thoughts on “Saint Emilion Chronicles #2: Collegiate Church & Cloisters

  1. Dina

    Thank you for this followup, dear Stefano. The photos are great and I especially admire the third one. We have lots of beautiful old churches in North Norfolk and I know for a fact, t’s not easy to capture those stained windows like this! Well done.
    By for now, we’re off to the Lake District. You all have a great time too!
    So long… 🙂
    Dina & Co Xx

    1. kbvollmarblog

      Dear Stefano,
      Siri cannot stop laughing, well, the church windows are stained here because nobody cleanse them 😉 well, Dina so exited about our trip up North fogot the “glas”.
      Lots of love
      Klausbernd and my three fairies big and small 🙂

      1. Stefano Post author

        Hahahaha!!! Until you mentioned I had not even noticed! Really quite funny 😉
        Love to you all and have lots of fun during your trip!

    2. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much, dear Dina: glad you enjoyed the photographs!
      Hope you are having lots of fun and good light in your trip!
      A big hug,

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, B: you are absolutely right – such a shame that so many of the artistic crafts of the past and the skills they required are quickly vanishing in the name of cheaper automation and standardization.
      That church was a real jewel.
      Glad you enjoyed the virtual tour! 😉
      All the best,

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Oliver!
      Yes, the weather cooperated for the most part and photographing at the fringes of the day helped secure some warm and soft light. Glad your always acute eye picked up even this detail. 😉

  2. laurasmess

    Wow. What a stunningly beautiful structure. I love European churches, we have nothing to the magnitude of European design over here in Australia. You captured some beautiful angles and details in your photographs. Thanks for sharing these with us Stefano!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to look at my images. 🙂
      Yes, that church was really a little gem, with so many angles and details to immortalize… Time as always is the limiting factor (as is money, of course…) 😉

  3. Pingback: Saint Emilion Chronicles #5: Saint Emilion and its Wine Appellations | Clicks & Corks

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