A Bastide Town | Libourne, France

Today we are docked in Libourne, France, a quaint fortified harbor town at the confluence of the Dordogne and Isle Rivers, just east of Bordeaux, and a few minute's drive south-east to reach Saint Émilion and Pomerol.

Like most bastide towns, Libourne is laid out in a grid system and the main square is a hub of activity. Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday you will find the Libourne farmer’s market at Place Abel Surchamp, easily the best in the Gironde. There is a plethora of colorful stalls selling delicacies of the region, fresh oysters, vegetables from local farmers, freshly baked bread, and mouthwatering pastries artfully displayed. A true Libournais wine destination with cafes and restaurants spilling onto the square. In true fashion, you will see French women and families carrying their shopping baskets filled with seasonal produce, and a fresh baguette, living an authentic lifestyle.

There are many things to experience in this bastide town, the iconic vaulted arched bridge from 1820, Pont De Libourne, and the 15th-century town hall, guarding its quiet secret, the Museum of Fine Arts. Discretely exhibiting works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Albrecht Dürer and Auguste Rodin. Or visit the Saint-Jean Baptiste Church which has an authenticated Crown of Thorns of Christ. As you head toward the redeveloped quay, it has become a public promenade for leisure activities.

To conclude my day in Libourne, by appointment only, I visited La Maison Galerie owned by Laurence Pustetto. Once you enter the glass and black lacquered steel door, you are entering an artistic universe.  It is a private home with staged and designed exhibits from contemporary artist. Where Laurence Pustetto, the owner, conducts bespoke tours.   It is a must-see if you are in Libourne, France.

There are many such treasures in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwest France all waiting to be explored.

This is my final post from my intrepid travel in southwestern France.  The Gironde is the largest department in metropolitan France and the second largest in France. My homebase was Bordeaux the capital of the Gironde. It was an enchanting trip throughout, where I sipped, sampled, and strolled my way through the enchanting wine villages and picturesque countryside.


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