Saint-Emilion, a church and a Breton saint's cave
Primitively, the church was a cave! A cave dug by saint Emilion, who founded here a small oratory and a monastery with other Benedictine monks. This hermit came from Brittany (from Vannes) in the 8th century.
He lived and died in this cave. His relics, stolen in the 11th century, were back in the church in the beginning of the 12th century. His shrine was destroyed by Protestants in 1551...
The archbishop of Bordeaux, Goscelin de Parthenay, led the monastery in 1080. After that, he decided to gave the monastery to Augustinian monks, in 1110: because the Benedictine rule became laxer!
Until the French Revolution, the underground church became the parish church, even if monks raised a collegiate at the top of the city, a nicest church...
This 40 metres long underground church, running far into the soil, seems timeless, without daylight or marks... The place is unique, completely perplexing for a religious building!
The portal dates back to the 13th century, the bell-tower to the 12th century and the spire to the 15th century.