As the sky reddens, views from Rouergue de la Réole Bridge reveal a peaceful hamlet in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers region. Forming a balcony over the river, La Réole is nonetheless emerging from a long period of silence. Traces of its rich heritage are visible on every street corner. One of France’s “Towns of Art and History”, it holds beautiful surprises for visitors who stop here. © Christophe Gardner
“33 min to change life” is the promise made by the millennial town of La Réole to the people of Bordeaux and to all those who long for authenticity, nature, and tranquillity. Offering a balcony over the Garonne, the town extends across the river’s banks, connected by the Rouergue Bridge. For 1,000 years, it has essentially developed perched on the river’s right banks, near the Benedictine Monastery. With half-timbered houses, an 18th-century staircase, Art Deco facades, or a 13th-century town hall, La Réole showcases a rich, unexpected, and oft-overlooked heritage. Alternating between mysterious backstreets and the brightness of market days, the 9-festival city is coming out of a long silence. Classified as a “Town of Art and History” in 2013, the old town has initiated extensive rehabilitation work. Here, contemporary architecture melds with an old habitat; a lift connecting the upper and lower towns will support this fresh dynamism. Only 33 minutes from Bordeaux, this human-sized town is a natural invitation to come together and discover a beautiful region.