The bastide of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande welcomes you at the crossroads of the Gironde, Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne.
A little history
Created by Alphonse de Poitiers in 1255, Sainte-Foy-la-Grande is the country house the oldest in Gironde. The bastide was created on a territory almost untouched by any construction in the 13th century. However, we know that the abbey of Conques had founded a religious establishment in 812 on the site of the bastide of Sainte-Foy.
In 1377, the Duke of Anjou, after taking Bergerac, went to Sainte-Foy. The garrison, small in number, despite its strong walls, surrendered in twenty-four hours. The city is looted. The French kept their conquests for a short time. From then on, until the middle of the 1450th century, Sainte-Foy had a peaceful life, faithful to the King of England. In 1498, the French besieged the city. After the capture of Castillon, it sided with the King of France, who confirmed his former privileges. In 1571, the customs of the city were confirmed. From XNUMX, the Protestantisme establishes itself in Sainte-Foy-La-Grande and this city becomes one of the Protestant strongholds of Agenais.
A city thrives on wine
From the Middle Ages, Sainte-Foy-La-Grande benefited from the prosperity thanks to the wine trade which has for theater its port, located away from the city. Under English rule, the wines were shipped on templates to Libourne or Blaye to be embarked on ocean-going vessels bound for the British Isles. The wines of Sainte-Foy-La-Grande are exported to Holland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Many Protestants in the region then chose exile to this country.
Activities linked to the vineyard and to navigation developed strongly: coopers and marine carpenters set up their workshops along the river. At that time also, the river transport of wheat and wheat from the country also contributed to the wealth of Sainte-Foy.
A heritage of character
Sainte-Foy is original by its orthogonal plan, divided by straight streets which intersect at right angles. The eccentric square is surrounded by cutlery (or arcades) which remain on 3 sides. Originally, the city was surrounded by walls: the gates and ramparts disappeared in the XNUMXth century.
Many remarkable houses are present in many streets of the bastide. This is particularly the case ofthe Tourist Office which occupies an imposing two-storey half-timbered house. In a corner of the house, you can see a turret along the two floors. This “ennobling tower” was added by the consul who obtained the right to erect it in recognition of the services rendered to the king. There is also a half-timbered house next to the Tourist Office which has small wooden sculptures on the beams of the front facade.
A country house with illustrious characters
Sainte-Foy-La-Grande is not only famous for its built heritage, it is also famous for illustrious people, who were born there and who lived there throughout the XNUMXth century and at the beginning of the XNUMXth century.
- Doctors: Louis Pierre GRATIOLET (1815-1865) and Paul BROCA (1824-1880).
- Elisée RECLUS (1830-1905), from a Protestant family of 14 children. Geographer and theorist of anarchism.
- Onésime and Armand RECLUS who distinguished themselves by their studies concerning the Panama Canal.
- Elie FAURE (1873-1937), author of a famous History of Art in four volumes.