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Talk of the town - Ribérac

Talk of the town - Ribérac

In each issue we highlight a town in the region to help you get to know the area. Here we visit Ribérac in Dordogne…

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Close to the Charente border, the traditional market town of Ribérac sits on the banks of the Dronne river. In ancient provençal, ‘ribiera’ was derived from the latin for river and indeed, the river has played a critical role in its history. In 878, the Normans travelled up the Dronne to pillage the abbey at Brantôme and it was the Count of Perigord and Angoulême who constructed a defence at a ford in the river. Later, around 1000, the Château de Ribérac was founded above the current cemetery. A village soon grew up around the chateau walls, gradually stretching to the valley floor.

The chateau continued to play an important role in the town’s fortunes through the 16th century when it welcomed the future King Charles IX. However, after the Wars of Religion (1562-98), the chateau fell into disrepair and by the time of the Revolution, it was in ruins; it was completely destroyed in the 19th century.

The town of Ribérac became a sub-préfecture in 1800 until 1924 and many buildings date from this period including the Palais de Justice and Hôtel de Ville. Collégiale Notre Dame is the oldest building in Ribérac built on the remains of the 12th century chateau chapel. It now houses exhibitions and concerts over the summer period.

Today Ribérac has 4500 inhabitants with a strong expat population. Local amenities include a large outdoor swimming pool open all summer and a 310 seat cinema. A new cultural centre is being constructed and is due to open in 2014.

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MARKET

Ribérac is home to one of the region’s largest markets every Friday when the town comes to life. With more than 250 stallholders arriving from across the Dordogne and the neighbouring départements, offering everything from gastronomic delights to household goods, it is always well supported. Between April and October there is also a weekly farmers’ market (marché des producteurs) each Tuesday between 8am and noon, and the town hosts several night markets in July and August. In the winter, a truffle market is held every Friday morning between December and the end of February with another local speciality, nuts, being sold in Place Pradeau through November.

 

SCHOOLS

The town has three public maternelles and one private. The Cité Scolaire includes a collège, lycée professionnel and lycée general, and there is a private collège. The Maison Familiale Rurale offers training for youths and adults.

 

TRANSPORT

The nearest airport is Bergerac (55km) with flights to the UK via Ryanair, Flybe and Jet2. Bordeaux is also easily accessible (120km) and is served by British Airways, easyJet and Monarch with Aer Lingus flights to Dublin. The nearest TGV stations are Angoulême and Libourne which connect with the Eurostar at Paris.