Spotlight on Bordeaux
- 28 March 2022
Bordeaux is the sixth biggest city in France, with an inner city population of around 250,000. The locals are known as... Read More
The area around Duras has some wonderful destinations for day-trips or dinner and a glass of wine.
The town of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande is situated in the north-east corner of Gironde, very close to the border with both the Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne departments. In Sainte-Foy-la-Grande town centre you will discover a 13th century bastide town, with half-timbered houses, a central square with stone arcades around the edges, and an interesting church.
In Sainte-Foy you will find a good selection of shops and cafes. In addition there is a great market (photo above) in the centre each Saturday morning. The market has been voted as one of the best in France.
Because it is slightly away from the main tourist routes it is a ‘living town’ rather than a ‘tourist town.
Most bastide towns are on hills but Sainte-Foy-la-Grande is unusual as the Dordogne river runs through the town.
The town was in founded by Alphonse de Poitiers around 1270, although the same location has been occupied during the earlier Roman and prehistoric eras.
Eymet has a typical bastide town layout (bastide towns are found more commonly in the Lot-et-Garonne and other departments to the south of the dordogne). This layout includes an open square, with a large fountain which originally held a market hall, though this no longer exists in Eymet, with straight roads leading off the square, lined with medieval houses dating from the 13 to 15th century.
Eymet has a lively market every Thursday morning and in July and August it has an extra market on a Sunday morning. Every year on the 15th August there is a tasting of white wine and oysters in Eymet’s main square. Eymet is very well served for restaurants and cafés and as it sits on the edge of the river Dropt it offers some lovely spots for a picnic too.
Marmande is located 35 km north-west of Agen. The town is situated at the confluence of the Trec with the Garonne on the right bank of the latter river, which is crossed at this point by a suspension bridge.
Marmande was a bastide founded about 1195 on the site of a more ancient town by Richard Cœur de Lion, who granted it a liberal measure of self-government. Its position on the banks of the Garonne made it an important place of toll. It soon passed into the hands of the counts of Toulouse, and was three times besieged and taken during the Albigensian Crusade, its capture by Amaury de Montfort in 1219 being followed by a massacre of the inhabitants. It was united to the French crown under Louis IX. A short occupation by the English in 1447, an unsuccessful siege by Henry IV in 1577 and its resistance of a month to a division of Wellington’s army in 1814, are some important events in its subsequent history.
Apart from the administrative offices, the most notable building is the church of Notre-Dame, which dates from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The windows of the nave, the altarpiece of the 18th century and, in particular, the Renaissance cloister adjoining the south side, are some of its most interesting features.
The town is a famous producer of tomatoes and has a festival dedicated to tomatoes which is held annually in July.
If gardens are your thing, then take time to visit the Jardins de Beauchamp, a series of fourteen gardens each with a different theme and which run one to another. Water is a key element in the gardens and appears in large ponds, fountains and a swimming pool.