Saint Emilion, one of Bordeaux’s wine regions is one of the most popular destinations in France. You can visit it all year long, as there are always at least some wineries and restaurants open in the region. However, some time periods of the year are better than others for a wine trip to the region. So what is the best time to come to Saint Emilion you wonder? 

When is the best time to come to Saint Emilion?

In my opinion, the best time to come is from Mid-April to July and then from September through October. May and June are excellent months for a visit as all the tourist attractions are open for the summer season but it’s not too crowded yet. September and October are the magical harvest season and if you’re interested in wine it’s something you wouldn’t want to miss. 

When not to come to Saint Emilion?

Try to avoid coming at the beginning of April as it’s the primeur week. The En Primeur way of buying wine is very common in Bordeaux thus most wineries are busy with hosting wine traders and won’t have time to offer you a tour.

Also, once in two years in June, Bordeaux hosts one of the biggest wine events in the world – Vinexpo, meaning that many wineries will send their staff to the expo and will welcome only a minimal amount of tourists. 

If possible, try to avoid coming to Saint Emilion in the last week of December and the first week of January. While many wineries stay open for visits even during the winter, in those two weeks you will have a hard time finding an open chateau. Don’t forget that many of the wine estates employ only a small number of people and these usually leave for their Christmas vacation. 

Is Summer a good time to visit Saint Emilion?

Generally, summer is a good time to visit the Southwest of France and the Bordeaux area in particular. It’s the official tourist season and most places are open and offer a huge variety of activities and adventures to help you discover this lovely area. 

Having said that, arriving from mid-July to mid-August, the most touristic month, can also be a disadvantage. Saint Emilion is one of the most popular destinations meaning that during the summer it gets packed with tourists flooding its narrow streets. Even getting a simple lunch in the city center can become a real hassle.

And while the big chateaux are all open for daily tours some of the small family-owned chateaux can close their wineries for a few weeks in August. I’m not discouraging you from coming in July- August of course but I want you to be prepared. If there’s a particular winery you’d like to visit, contact them in advance. And most importantly, book your lunch and dinner in advance as well, or else a homemade sandwich might be your only friend in August 🙂

See other wine-related articles here:
Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
The Medoc wine route
Best family-friendly wineries in Bordeaux
Bordeaux wine region – the full guide
All the Open door events in the wineries of Bordeaux

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 


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