Brave Brive-la-Gaillarde is a proud little place. Famed for its role in the wartime resistance (it was the regional HQ of the Secret Army), it’s been strategically important for centuries. Today, it’s equally famed as an ultra-convenient gateway to the beautiful Dordogne region, with a new airport that gets you right to the heart of the action.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, central Brive hosts a traditional covered market that sells everything from Limousin beef and foie gras to truffles and preserves. If you miss market day, you’ll find equally tantalising fare in the tiny patisseries and bakeries that cluster around the Old Town’s street corners – La Mie Câline bakery (9 boulevard Charles De Gaulle) is a local’s favourite and specialises in artisan bread. The pedestrian streets of the medieval centre are also home to all the usual French high-street chains, as well as a selection of one-of-a-kind designer boutiques that are mainly clustered around the rue de la République.
Food & Drink
A mixture of small local bistros serving traditional Limousin food and some seriously classy restaurants makes this sleepy town something of a foodie paradise. Enjoy locally sourced dishes packed with fresh ingredients at La Table d’Olivier (3 rue Saint-Ambroise), linger over lunch at old-fashioned bistro Chez Francis (61 avenue de Paris), or head a little way out of town to the Michelin-starred restaurant at fairytale castle Château de Castel Novel (Varetz). If your tastes run to the contemporary and exotic, La Toupine (27 avenue Pasteur) is a chic gourmet outlet that specialises in flavour combining. And of course, no trip to Brive would be complete without a tasting experience at Denoix (9 boulevard du Maréchal Lyautey), the local distillery.
Festival du Cinéma de Brive
This is the only festival in Europe devoted to medium-length film, and its aim is to promote young artists and encourage appreciation of film as an art form.
Festival de la Vézère
Focussing on classical music in all its variations, this long-running, 12-day festival is one of the most popular events in Brive. Most of the concerts take place against the stunning backdrop of the Château Saillant and feature artists from all over the world.
Brive Plage Festival
For two weeks every summer, Brive plays host to a fun-packed celebration centred around sport and music. Enjoy a huge range of beach sports, including volleyball and sand ball, as well as watching performances from locally based pop, rock and folk bands.
Festival de l’Élevage
Around 40,000 people flock to Brive every year to enjoy this giant agricultural extravaganza. Visitors have the chance to browse hundreds of different stalls, see a huge variety of different farm animals and enjoy a food festival that celebrates the efforts of local producers.
Brive Book Fair
This is one of the most prestigious book fairs in France, and it attracts both authors and bibliophiles from across the continent. A series of workshops, exhibitions and seminars takes place throughout the three-day festival.
This picture-perfect little town perched on the banks of the Corrèze River is a collection of honey-coloured houses surrounded by classic French countryside. There is plenty of good, mid-range accommodation to be found on the fringes of the historic centre of Brive, with big names such as Hôtel Ibis Brive (32 rue Marcelin Roche) and Hôtel Le Quercy (8 bis quai Tourny) dominating the hotel scene. If you’d rather distance yourself from the hubbub of town life, the stately Château de la Treyne (Lacave) and Château de Castel Novel (Varetz) are both just a short drive from Brive and offer über-luxurious accommodation with top-notch facilities.