River Cruise in France travel blog

Entrance to market in Libourne

Some of the flowers

Strawberries smelled wonderful and tasted even better

Fresh coffee - ground to order

Friendly cheese vendor - even gave me tastes of several kinds

It's white asparagas season

Live eels

All kinds of olives



He is selling vanilla

I never saw such HUGE green beans

Fresh picked oranges

Gwen among the artichokes

The ham smelled so good

Chateau D' Abzac from the drive

I could live here

The owner - Baron d'Anglade gave us a tour and wine tasting

Lemons growing in the courtyard

The old mill at the Chateau

One of the entries for water in the old mill.

The water was pretty powerful coming through the mill

The chateau

The outside stream at the mill

The ancient walled town of Libourne was originally established by an Englishman (Roger de Leyburn) in the 12th century and is at the confluence of the Dordogne and the Isle rivers. It is in the center of a prosperous wine area and became a very important port. All the houses around the main square were built on the model of a Roman camp with a central square surrounded by arcades with two major entries. At one time the fortified town of Libourne formed a perfect square (55 meters per side).

The market, one of the most prestigious in the region has been held on the square every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday for 600 years. The arcades that surround the square even today are used to protect the merchants, stalls and shoppers. The market is set up on the square in front of the City Hall which was built in 1427. The elections for mayor and aldermen are held each July 22nd in the Council Hall.

We were fortunate that today was market day in Libourne and it was very interesting walking through all the stalls. There was quite a variety of goods for sale – from clothes & jewelry to all sorts of food stuff. You could see the older french women with their rolling grocery carts buying their food for the next couple of days. As our guide took us through the market, we got to sample the fresh strawberries (yum), local cheese and pastry. One of the foods for sale that the french were lining up for was the live and dead eels (UCK!!). We had free time in the market to walk around and try to communicate with the vendors. Sign language works pretty well.

After the market tour, we got on the bus to go to a “mystery” location. Our location turned out to be the Chateau D'Abzac which was amazing. This chateau was built in 1664 set amid 35 hectares (85 acres) of vines and has been in the family of the Baron d'Anglade since 1796. The Baron himself greeted us and told us some of the history of his family and the chateau and then gave us a tour through some of the chateau where he and his wife live. We got to see some of the personal rooms they used and how they are still the original walls, floors and ceilings. Some of the rooms have been re-purposed (stable in one of the wings is now a living/sitting room. When the chateau was built, they also erected a huge mill that had (and still does have) six entries where the river comes rushing in. It was used as a mill until about 50 years ago when the Baron's family started a different business in manufacturing and built a plant on the property. The mill is now used for their wine tastings and storage for the plant. They have a winery but mainly sell most of their wine in China.

Then it was back to the boat for lunch and spending the afternoon on the sundeck watching the world go by as we sail back to Bordeaux.

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