Sub-prefecture of the Gironde (33)
Stage town for the 4th time
Population: 25,060 (Libournais, Libournaises), and 95,000 in the Communauté d'agglomération du Libournais (CALI, 45 communes).
Specialities: wine (3 renowned appellations in the commune Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol...), lamprey à la Bordelaise (river fish similar to eel), bouchon du Vigneron (biscuit, a Libourne speciality).
Personalities: Noël Mamère (politician), Gilbert Mitterrand (mayor from 1989 to 2011, son of François Mitterrand), Dean Jean Carbonnier (great French law professor), Pierre Lewden (high jump), Pierre Gaspard-Huit (film director), William Leymergie (TV presenter), Mickaël Delage (cycling).
Sport: Handball Club de Libourne. French Rowing Championships (several editions since 2013). CNL rowing & shooting club (ranked in the top 10 in France). Lac des Dagueys: rowing & canoeing preparation centre for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, future surfing spot (installation in 2022 of an artificial and ecological wave with the Paris 2024 label). Skate park with its renowned 2.6m deep bowl.
Culture: Fest'arts (International Street Arts Festival), Festival of detective literature.
Economy: Arena (equipment manufacturer), Botalo (boots), Ceva Santé Animale (veterinary laboratory), Fayat (construction and public works), Libourne - Artigues-de-Lussac airfield.
Labels: "Ville à Vélo du Toir de France" 2 bikes / Man And Biosphere Label / UNESCO (Dordogne River and its tributaries) / Vignobles et Découvertes Label / "Terre de Jeux" labelled town / Santa Claus Secretary town
Websites and social networks: www.libourne.fr / www.lacali.fr / www.tourisme-libournais.com / www.gironde.fr / www.gironde-tourisme.fr / fr-fr.facebook.com/ville.de.libourne / fr-fr.facebook.com/lacali.agglomeration / www.facebook.com/Departement.Gironde / @ville.de.libourne / @lacali_agglo / twitter.com/gironde / www.instagram.com/departementgironde
LIBOURNE, A STORY
A 750-year-old bastide port
The natural confluence of the Isle and Dordogne rivers led to the foundation of this bastide in 1270 by English soldier Roger de Leyburn, who gave it his name. Because of its geographical position, it naturally played a major commercial role, looking both towards the estuary and towards the hinterland. The flourishing trade it has developed over the centuries, mainly in salt, wood and wine, has made it one of the most prosperous bastides in Aquitaine. Surrounded by its ramparts and towers, Libourne imposed its supremacy while remaining the first godchild of Bordeaux. Like all bastides, Libourne was built on the model of a Roman camp, with a central square surrounded by arcades, two main perpendicular axes and a multitude of secondary streets forming a giant checkerboard. For a long time, this prosperous city maintained a privileged link with England. The cobblestones in the riprap of the Tower of the Great Harbour, made up of small blocks of stone, still bear witness to this. These were used to weight down the ships coming from England, which left Libourne loaded with barrels of wine. Today, the cruise ships have replaced the ships of the English fleet.
The tidal bore
The Libourne tidal bore is surfed by riders from all over the world because the Dordogne wave is unique. As it moves rapidly over the water coming in from the ocean, this spectacular natural phenomenon swells, slips, breaks, foams, reappears, breaks in the Dordogne river bed and moves inland to Libourne and beyond, over 100 km from the ocean. In France, the Libourne tidal bore is number one. Some celebrities like Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard have made a habit of coming to surf this exceptional wave every year.
LIBOURNE AND CYCLING
Libourne has already been visited three times by the Tour de France and will return to its roots with the time trial towards Saint-Émilion on the penultimate stage of this edition. In 1957, for the first passage of the Grande Boucle through the town, it was also in a 66-km time-trial to Bordeaux (which already passed through Saint-Émilion), that Jacques Anquetil outclassed his opponents and secured his first victory in the Tour de France.
Another time trial, this one by teams, was won by the Panasonic team in 1992.
Libourne is also the birthplace of Mickaël Delage, who has taken part in six Tours de France, mainly in the colours of the Française des Jeux, and of Quentin Pacher, one of the most combative riders of the 2020 edition.
Museum of Fine Arts
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Libourne is a Musée de France and offers visitors a panorama of works from European schools from the 14th to the 20th century. The museum has two exhibition spaces: the 2nd floor of the town hall for its permanent collections and the Carmel chapel for its temporary collections. Although it has undergone transformations, the museum has retained its original spirit, in particular the magnificent decorative stained-glass window bearing the city's emblem.
The Confluence quays
The port of Libourne Saint-Émilion, with its quays and pontoons from which many cruise passengers disembark, offers a breathtaking view of the "Confluence" of the Dordogne and Isle rivers. A place to live and share, where everyone can fulfil their desires (sport, relaxation, walks, gastronomy), this place has a seaside atmosphere, exotic and festive.
Château de Sales - AOC Pomerol
Perhaps built by the first known owner, Jean de Sauvanelle, mayor of Libourne in the first half of the 17th century, the plan of the château still adopts that of a fortress, entirely enclosed and organised around an inner courtyard. The gardens drawn on the plans of 1770-1772 were replaced by lawns, while the pond was built between 1770 and 1780. Located in the Pomerol appellation, Château de Sales has the largest vineyard in the AOC with 47.6 hectares of vines, out of the 90 hectares of the estate. The limits of the property are the same as in 1578, except for three hectares that were lost during the revolution.
Grand Port Tower
The Grand Port Tower is one of the defence towers of an ancient gateway opened in the city wall. These ramparts, flanked by towers, were pierced by eight gates, the four main ones opening at the ends of the two main axes of the city. The Grand Port gate, whose construction dates back to the 14th century, was named Richard Gate in honour of a son of the Black Prince born in Bordeaux in 1366.
The Libourne Street Arts Festival (Fest'Arts) will celebrate its 30th edition in 2021. First called Rue en Fête (in 1990), Fest'Arts was born in 1993 to give traditional festivals another dynamic. With the Street Arts, the desire was to create a festive and convivial event where live entertainment would be accessible to all, in a bastide that offered a space suitable for the multiple facets of street arts. Since 2005, the organisation has been entrusted to a dedicated municipal service, which is also responsible for managing the Liburnia theatre.
The barracks of Libourne played a precursory role in the development of the neo-classical style which developed in the second half of the 18th century. The complex consists of three rectangular buildings, built between 1766 and 1820 around a courtyard preceded by two square pavilions surrounded by a gate. Although some of the interiors have been altered, many interesting features have been preserved, notably the monumental staircase of the officers' pavilion and the framework of the riding hall.
"La Calinésie" aquatic centre
The specificity of these 5,000m² dedicated to water is to combine leisure, sport and well-being both indoors and outdoors. On the leisure side, its 75 m long slide is a dream for adventurers. A 500 m² swimming area with a river and a playground allows the whole family to exercise. For a wellness interlude, head for the well-equipped balneo area (hammam, jacuzzi, sauna, etc.). With its 25m² sports pool and bleachers, Calinesie can host major national competitions in the small pool. Information on www.lacalinésie.fr
Guîtres tourist train
A relic of the great railway era, this is an opportunity to rediscover the joys of rail travel in the style of yesteryear. In the carriages built in 1900, you travel on wooden benches through the green forest of northern Gironde. The journey back in time begins as soon as you enter the station built in 1875 where a real cardboard ticket is punched!
Pork confit from Libourne
Pork confit is one of the great specialities of the Libourne region. It is similar to enchaud or enchaux, which are common in the Landes. Some believe it is even tastier than goose confit.
Taken from the fillet, it is spiked with garlic, rolled on itself and braised slowly in a casserole dish. To eat, cut the confit into thin slices and serve with a salad with walnut oil. It can be eaten cold or reheated in a pan.