By Hillary Latos
At the heart of the medieval UNESCO world heritage village of Saint Émilion is its Grand Dame, the Hostellerie de Plaisance. Beauty, history, and a gourmandise are united as one in this stately five-star luxury Relais and Chateau property overlooking the vineyards of one of Bordeaux’s most renowned wine making appellations.
Step back in time to the Middle Ages as you meander through this cliffside village filled with narrow cobblestone streets and stone buildings. Named after a patron saint, Saint Émilion was originally designed as a religious sanctuary and merchant village, and was modeled after ancient monasteries and the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. As you explore the town, pay attention to the symbolic maze that links the historical village to Egypt through its carved signs and hieroglyphs in strategically placed areas of religious significance.
At the center of this perfectly preserved 12th century village is the iconic monolith church and bell tower, which is connected to the neo classical Hostellerie de Plaisance by suspended gardens surrounding a picturesque terrace overlooking the rolling hills of vineyards and ancient pink-tiled rooftops.
Every room reflects a different design and color palette personally chosen by Charlotte Perse, who has a refined and elegant contemporary French aesthetic that pays a nod to the regal building’s classical structure. The luxuriously appointed rooms feature fabric-covered walls, Egyptian cotton sheets, and infinite views of the countryside. For a romantic treat, choose one of the suites in the new tower, with an en-suite private garden filled with the beautiful scents of flowering jasmine and honeysuckle.
Relax in the terrace under the canopy of the imposing bell tower, or grab a glass of fine Bordeaux wine in their swanky bar, a room bathed in light and tastefully decorated with paintings by Bernard Buffet.
Embark on a gastronomic journey at their Michelin-starred restaurant, under the direction of the young and talented Chef Cedric Bechade, who trained for 10 years under Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee in Paris. His refined cuisine is sourced from local purveyors, and he offers a creative flair that plays on textures and contrasts in taste and presentation. The extensive wine list is heavily concentrated on the renowned wines of Saint Émilion, and was curated by master sommelier Cedric Bechade, who has perfected his skill to find the ideal pairing to enhance each dish. A life well lived is a life worth living, and the Hostellerie de Plaisance is a perfect embodiment of this mantra.
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