Bourg / Pair-non-pair
3 mil – 30 minuter
Saint-Emilion världsarv, 4 mil från Bourg österut
Grottor Pair non pair
Discovered in 1881 it is known for remarkable prehistoric parietal engravings – petroglyphic representations of wild animals “which rank among the most ancient examples of art made by prehistoric” humans, dates back to 30 – 25.000 BP, the Aurignacian period of the Upper Paleolithic.
The third decorated cave ever to be discovered after Altamira in Spain and the Chabot cave in Ardèche. First cave to be listed as a historical monument in France on December, 20th 1901.
The cave documented
Pair-non-Pair’s moderately sized interior (20 m) can be divided into three sections, which have been named “Galerie Nord” -“Salle de Gravures” – “Corridor effondre”
The original entrance collapsed between 35k and 29k years. The cave was accessible during the Aurignacian and the Gravettian period via secondary entrances which also disappeared over time due to sedimentation as the whole grotto was completely filled with sediment deposits.
Daleau accessed via a chimney from the top and worked downwards through the layers of deposits. Applied progressive excavation techniques for the archaeological layers and recorded the artifacts. Apart from the petroglyphs, wall paintings, stone tool fragments and animal bones of 60 species.
Sediments deposited during the Aurignacian completely covered the wall engravings, the fact suggests these works of art must have been produced by occupants living before the Gravettian.
Human occupation took place over a period spanning 60k years from the Mousterian (~80k BP), the Chatelperronian (~40k BP), the Aurignacian (~30k BP) and into the Gravettian (~25k BP) cultures.
Four settlement periods analyzing the stratification of the sediments and the precise location of the many stone artifacts. Contextual fossils and the nature of the tools found lead to the conclusion that the earliest two settlement periods must be attributed to Homo neanderthalensis, who is gradually less present at the site during the Chatelperronian and fully disappears during the Aurignacian.
During the Châtelperronian access was gained by cavities that opened to the left of the Chamber of Engravings. The occupation period is shorter and concentrated more in the Northern Gallery.
During the Gravettian, housing was reserved for the (Northern Gallery) only while the walls of the room were decorated with engravings of animal. The cave was abandoned around 22-20k yrs ago. Accumulation of debris and deposits had made access to and housing in the cave impracticable.
The animals has not yet been explained completely. Notably small animals and birds are absent, while carnivores are represented only marginally. Carvings of the ibex are the most frequent no skeletal remains of this species were ever found, in any prehistoric site in Gironde.
Most animals carved on the walls are represented in pairs.
The room engravings include one of the very rare representations of a Megaloceros giganteus, the largest deer that ever existed in Eurasia with antlers spanning to up to 3.50 meters in length.
Addition to the wall art, balls of ochre and shoulder blades of cattle had been used as pallets were found. Carved and cut bones, beads and even a flute made of vulture bone came to light.
Neben archäologischen Fundstätten, die eine gallorömische Besiedlung nachweisen, spielte die Stadt in den englisch-französischen Auseinandersetzungen im 13. und 14. Jahrhundert eine besondere Rolle. Sie war anfangs Teil des englisch dominierten Aquitaniens, aber die Franzosen besetzten 1224 die Stadt. Schon 1225 schafften die Engländer den Entsatz der Stadt. 1294 eroberten französische Truppen erneut die Gascogne. Bourg konnte zunächst noch von den Engländern gehalten werden und blieb dann umkämpft.
Om det finns en Gironde stad vars historia var händelserikt är det Bourg, staden städa badade Dordogne, nära sammanflödet med Garonne.
Bourg skapades i det fjärde århundradet av Paulin-familjen. Först och främst ett mycket viktigt kommersiellt centrum, det blir en befäst stad. I början av det femte århundradet invaderade Visigotherna Aquitaine och bosatte sig mycket starkt i Bourg. Detta är en tid präglad av de stora invasion under de kommande fyra århundraden var regionen härjade successivt av Merovingian Franks, kadetterna, saracenerna, den karolingiska Franks och normander.
Under hundraåriga kriget, Blaye, Aquitaine nyckel militärt försvar i egenskap senast berikade fäste nedströms hamnen i Bordeaux, är flera gånger tagits och retaken av de krigförande.
Vid dess anslutning, i 1379, till Bordeaux-alliansen för försvar mot de franska trupperna, var den befästa staden Bourg kvalificerad guddotter av Bordeaux4; denna allians gynnade många kommersiella utbyten med Girondine huvudstaden.
Övre staden var sedan värd Charles VII (efter Bertrand IV de Montferrand, herrn av Langoiran gick till Dunois), Charles IX och Francis I. Louis XIV bodde också under Fronde från 27 augusti till 2 oktober 1650.
Det var den främsta stadsdelen från 1790 till 1795.
Bourg absorberade Lalibarde (217 invånare 1800) före 18065.
Gamla stenbrott ligger i klippan nedanför slottet av citadellet, förvandlas till oljetankar i September 19396. tankarna 44 till 65 meter långa skärs till en höjd av 11 meter i tak och 8, 50 meter wide7. I juni 1940 tog den tyska armén den i besittning. Det kommer att lagra petroleumprodukter som levereras av italienska frakt tills 1944. En italiensk tanker, den Clizia8 kommer att sank av den tyska marinen i augusti 1944. Vraket ligger fortfarande i Dordogne9.
Idag Bourg är en charmig stad byggd på en klippa, det finns väggar, slottet Citadellet, en tvätt, pittoreska smala gator kör ner till hamnen … Arvet och arkitektoniska rikedomen i detta citerat tjänat honom rankningen i “Old Village”
Visit Saint-Emilion (Aquitaine, France)
Saint-Emilion is a town 35 kilometres east of Bordeaux in the Gironde department and in the Aquitaine region of south-west France. It is best known (indeed renowned the world over) for the vineyards which surround the town, Saint-Emilion being one of the four Bordeaux red wine regions, but is also an exceptionally attractive small town.
The history of the town dates back almost 2000 years when the Romans planted vineyards here as early as the 2nd century AD, while Saint-Émilion itself dates from the 8th century when a Breton Monk called Emilion came to settle here in a hermitage carved into the rock. The cave where he lived from 750 – 767 AD subsequently became a pilgrim destination.
Saint-Emilion is entered by way of one of the seven gates that are part of the original medieval fortifications. Inside the walls you will discover steep narrow streets with beautiful buildings, and several more open squares, each more attractive than the one before. Saint Emilion is not to be missed if you are in the region!
Built from, or rather hacked out of, the local yellow limestone, Saint-Emilion is centred around a large square with a church on one side. This is a quite remarkable church because it is more or less hewn into the the rock face. You can also climb the steps inside the 53 metre high 13th century bell tower which sits on the square above for stunning views across the rooftops and countryside.
For more views and history you can also climb to the top of the Chateau du Roy, the castle keep that is part of the medieval castle that once stood here.
Other particular places of interest include the collegiate church and its splendid cloister; the Cordeliers monastery and cloister; and the underground pottery museum, built in a 12th century quarry and containing pottery from 2000 years ago up to the present day.
Going underground in Saint-Emilion
To really appreciate Saint-Emilion you need to descend underground on the guided tour that will show you the catacombs which were used for Christian burials from the 8th to the 10th century; a ‘monolithic’ church that was carved out of the rock in the 9th century and is the biggest of its type in Europe (this church is nothing like the small cave like structure you might expect from an underground church!), and the ‘grotte de l’Ermitage’ in which Saint-Emilion spent the last 17 years of his life.
Handy hint: it is said that infertile women who sit in the stone chair in the hermit’s cave will become pregnant…
The tour also includes the Chapelle de la Trinité which contains some well preserved medieval frescoes. This tour takes about 45 minutes and is highly recommended.
Emerging back into the daylight there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, artisan shops and boutiques to keep you entertained if the historical interest starts to wane.
France This Way comment: the town has managed to avoid the surrounding development that might have spoiled it, and now Saint-Emilion and the surrounding region is a listed and protected UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’, so future development is more or less impossible.
Note: I noticed in the Saint-Emilion tourist brochure that they give some ‘Helpful Hints’, and the very first of these is “Ladies, try to avoid high-heeled shoes as some of the streets are steep and paved with cobblestones”. Good advice I’m sure, although I don’t remember so many holidaymakers teetering around in high-heeled shoes!
For wine enthusiasts no trip to Saint Emilion would be complete without a visit to one or more of the local wine chateaux. There are several of these that welcome the public for wine tasting – ask for details at Saint-Emilion tourist office.
The tourist office also offer guided tours to a local wine chateau if you are a bit nervous about just driving up to one yourself, and also courses in wine tasting based in the ‘Saint Emilion wine school’ are available. If all that sounds a bit serious just buy a bottle of wine in one of the local shops and enjoy it with a picnic!
As a rough guide to the Saint-Emilion wines; the best are the Premier Grand Cru Classées though these will set you back some hundreds of euros, next best are the Grand Cru Classées and then the Grand Crus. However even your non-Grand Cru Saint Emilion wines tend to be very good so don’t be put off if your purse is not big enough for the Grand Cru Saint-Emilion wines!
Attractions near Saint-Emilion
There are numerous wine chateaux nearby and some lovely countryside, but if you are not just here for the wine-tasting the one problem with Saint-Emilion is that there are a limited number of other attractions very close by. Sainte-Foy-la-Grande is a pleasant town to explore and Libourne deserves a stroll but the more noteworthy towns in the region such as Bordeaux to the west and Bergerac to the east are a bit further.
I would suggest that the best way to visit is to stay further east, perhaps near Bergerac or Eymet where there are more medieval towns and villages to visit, and then make a day trip to enjoy the highlights of Saint-Emilion rather than actually plan to spend a week or two at Saint-Emilion itself – or book a night or two in a hotel here if your arrangements allow it.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Gironde guide and the Aquitaine guide.
See also: Hotels in and near Saint-Émilion