The Libournais is first and foremost a wine destination, with prestigious wine appellations - Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol, Saint Emilion… which has developed around the wine trade. We can now share cellar visits and tastings in a friendly atmosphere with the many owners who open their estates. Wine tourism, which has developed strongly, invites you to discover the world of wine and its secrets.
The Libournais landscapes are made of vineyards, limestone and wooded valleys, crossed by the Dordogne and Gironde rivers. They offer so many sporting and relaxation opportunities. The architectural heritage of this little corner of France, especially well preserved, invites you to go back in time.
You can spend hours walking the narrow, steep streets of the medieval city founded in the 8th century by the monk Emilian, linger in its small squares or in the many shops, taste macaroons (the specialty) and discover the very large diversity of its historical monuments: the troglodyte church of Saint-Pierre, the monolithic church and its bell tower, the collegiate church and its cloister, the great wall vestige of a Dominican monastery, very beautiful private mansions, underground galleries, the convent of the Cordeliers, the ramparts and the Brunet gate, the ruins of the facade of the Cardinal palace, its King's tower, its washhouses, its market hall...
One day will not be too much to immerse yourself in the city and its many monuments constituting a real architectural treasure that can be admired from the Tour du Roy which dominates the city and the vineyard. The tourist office offers many ideas for discoveries and themed walks, including a visit to hidden and underground heritage.
We will remember that it was Jean sans Terre in 1199 who gave the status of a city to Saint-Emilion which became a jurade. His wine will bring him great fame, even today.
The jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. For the first time in the world, a wine - growing landscape has been admitted to this prestigious registration, concerning 8 municipalities and 5000 hectares of vines.
About fifteen kilometers from Saint-Emilon, Castillon la Bataille is bathed by the Dordogne river. The city is known for its famous battle which opposed the French to the English and ended the 100 years war, on July 20, 1453. Bordeaux fell to the French in October of the same year, then Aquitaine became French again. A sound and light show brings this important episode in the history of France to life every summer.
It was only in 1953, for the 500th anniversary of Castillon's victory, that the town took on its current name. The town has a rich architectural and natural heritage. A few kilometers away, the old fortified town of Gensac, overlooking the valley of the Durèze and the Dordogne, classified as an old village, does not lack character. In August its festival offers beautiful concerts of classical music.
It was the brother of Saint Louis who ordered the construction of the bastide in 1253, today one of the best preserved in France. Its church, built in the 13th century by the Templars, was in turn destroyed, rebuilt then enlarged, it has one of the highest spires in Aquitaine. It is pleasant to take its alleys, to stroll on its covered square.
The Tourist Office houses a museum of local archeology. The town has also dedicated a shipping museum, evoking the wine trade transported on barges and couraux to Libourne on the Dordogne river, “the Espérance river”. 12 km away, the Moustelat water mill, built in 1724, has been completely restored.
Libourne is an old port bastide which owes its prosperity to the wine trade. The central square with its arcades and houses from the 16th to the 19th centuries bear witness to the city's past.
The large stone bridge built in the 19th century with its 9 arches is 220 m long, it replaced the ferry which was the only way to cross the Dordogne.
The city has renovated its port area to accommodate cruise liners. 8 kilometers away, in the town of Vayres, a strange natural phenomenon occurs twice a year, at times of high tidal coefficients: the tidal bore. This important wave going up the Dordogne is a delight for surfers and also attracts many curious people.
The castle of Vayres with its medieval, Renaissance and 17th century architecture is classified as a historical monument. Its gardens and its monumental staircase open onto the Dordogne. Its park has been awarded the Jardins Remarquables label. The castle belonged to Henri IV, it is an inhabited private property that can be visited.
About fifteen kilometers away, the abbey church of Guîtres, built in the 11th century, was dismantled during the Revolution, only the Saintonge style church remains, restored in the 20th century and housing a majestic organ, concerts are offered there from July to September.