Famed for its lively produce market, Brive-la-Gaillarde is a charming riverside city that developed around a 5th-century church. During World War II, it was a major hub for French Resistance groups fighting against Nazi occupation and was the first city to liberate itself on 15 August 1944.
Things to do in Brive-la-Gaillarde
In the heart of Brive-la-Gaillarde is St. Martin’s Collegiate Church, which was originally built on the site of St. Martin the Spaniard’s tomb in the 5th century AD. Rebuilt in the 12th century, it’s topped by a neo-Romanesque bell tower that soars to 60 metres in height. A short walk from St. Martin’s Collegiate Church is the Chapelle Saint-Liberal, a Gothic-style chapel that provides a space for art exhibitions and cultural events.
Occupying the Renaissance-style Hôtel de Labenche is the Labenche Museum of Art and History, which houses around 5,000 artefacts from Brive-la-Gaillarde’s past. Highlights include a piano once belonging to Claude Debussy and an impressive collection of tapestries from Aubusson and the English Royal Manufactory. While visiting the museum, take the time to admire the arcade, mullioned windows and sculptures of its 16th-century mansion.
Another museum not to miss is dedicated to Edmond Michelet, a World War II Resistance activist who lived in Brive-la-Gaillarde. Housed in Michelet’s former home, the nine exhibition rooms include displays dedicated to the Vichy regime, daily life under Nazi occupation and the eventual liberation of Brive-la-Gaillarde.
Getting around Brive-la-Gaillarde
Brive-la-Gaillarde is around 2.5 hours’ drive from both Bordeaux and Toulouse while the tiny Brive–Souillac Airport is 20 minutes away and has flights to destinations across France. Regular trains connect to the Brive-la-Gaillarde railway station and buses travel throughout the city.