Saint Emilion Chronicles #2: Collegiate Church & Cloisters

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.

SourcesTravel France Online and

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


About Stefano

I am a photographer and an ISA certified sommelier. I contribute to two blogs, Flora's Table (the fine cooking and wine blog - and Clicks & Corks (my photography and wine blog - My photography Web site is at
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21 Responses to Saint Emilion Chronicles #2: Collegiate Church & Cloisters

  1. These photos look lovely Stefano! I love exploring the architecture of old churches, so fascinating. Sounds like you and Francesca are having fun 🙂

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Heather: glad you enjoyed my images. 🙂
      That church was a little gem architectonically speaking and I am glad we had a chance to tour it and show it to you, if only remotely.

  2. Dina says:

    Thank you for this lovely followup, dear Francesca and Stefano.
    The photos are great and I especially like the third one of the gothic chirch window. 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

    • Dear Flora,
      we couldn`t stop laughing about the stained windows, well, we have no window cleaner here 😉 and our windows are right now quite stained. But here comes the missing “glas”.
      With a big hug
      Klausbernd 🙂 Dina 🙂 Siri and Selma 🙂 🙂

      • Stefano says:

        Hahahaha, that’s so funny, dear Klausbernd! 😀 I had not even noticed until I read your comment 😉
        Glad you guys liked my images and hope you are having a fantastic time in your beautiful trip!
        A big hug to you all! 🙂

  3. Dear Stefano,

    It is good to read the history of this famous church, shame on me that when I visited Saint Emilion I didn’t do any research on it. The stained glass windows are indeed amazing as are the cloisters. There’s something about cloisters that makes walking around them a very peaceful experience but I am not sure what makes them so.

    Lovely images.

    Take care

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you very much, dear B!
      I totally agree with you: walking around cloisters is a very peace-inducing experience, that helps you slow down, relax and think. Something tells me that we are both missing some kind of trick that does that, because I have a feeling they were intentionally built with that idea in mind! 😉
      All the best,

  4. The photo’s are amazing, especially the photo of the portal, how beautiful everything is. Your trip must have been amazing,

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Suzanne: glad you liked my images!
      That church was really a gem and the whole trip was spectacular in so many respects…
      Hope all is well with you.

  5. How beautiful, Stefano! Thank you so much.For those of us who will probably never get to see these places, you give a gift!
    And what pictures they are! They are just beautiful and a great choice.

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Tonette, for your so very kind words!
      I am glad that you enjoyed the post and the images and that they gave you a glimpse of the beauty of those places.
      All the best,

  6. Forest So Green says:

    Wonderful photos 🙂 Annie

  7. Beautiful as always. Makes me want to get back to Europe!

    Totally unrelated, Francesca, I made your pumpkin soup for supper last night–delicious. Too many pumpkin/squash soup recipes are cutesied up with apples or peanut butter and I’ve never liked those. Yours is addictive, the best I’ve ever eaten (and it’s posted on my blog today).

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Tracy: glad you enjoyed the images and the story! 🙂

    • Francesca says:

      Hello Tracy!
      Sorry it took me so long. I want to thank you for your super kind words. I never know where to start from to describe what I feel when someone likes my food. Being an introvert, dealing with people and feelings is a total nightmare for me. Hopefully, it will get better as I age. 😉

      • I’m a total introvert, so I understand. I was able for most of my adult life (probably because I was forced) to hide my “nightmarish” freak-out about dealing with people and feelings (no one knew how much I was freaking out, suffering). But in retrospect, I don’t think that sucking-it-up was good for me. It was traumatic.

        It did get easier for me as I got older. Only because I started to truly understand that other people’s opinions don’t actually matter a whit, and I began to trust what I know (that I know what I’m doing)…

        I guarantee, you can trust what you know (about food, life, parenting…everything–you’re more than just fine, Francesca, you’re fabulous.)

      • Francesca says:

        You know the song “You are just too good to be true”? Well, picture me singing to you! 😉 Thank you, dear! 🙂

  8. Fig & Quince says:

    This is a great series! Fun to read and good to look at!

  9. Pingback: Saint Emilion Chronicles #5: Saint Emilion and its Wine Appellations | Flora's Table

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