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On a trip to the Dordogne Valley, I flew in and out of Brive from London. We spent a bit of time exploring this pretty, small town and despite the fact that it’s not well known, it has quite a lot to offer visitors. If you’re visiting France’s Dordogne Valley and considering what to do in Brive, then check out these top things to do in Brive below.
About Brive, France
Brive, or to give it its full name, Brive la Gaillarde is a small town in the Corrèze region of France.
It’s said that “Gaillarde” probably stands for bravery or strength but it may also refer to the city’s walls.
Despite being pretty small, Brive is one of the more sizeable towns in the area. Since it has plenty of facilities it’s a great base for exploring the Dordogne.
Where is Brive la Gaillarde?
Brive is in the Corrèze department of France, just over the border from The Dordogne department. The Corrèze department is in central France, slightly more to the west and the Dordogne is to the west too.
Getting to Brive
Brive is served by flights from London’s Stanstead airport which makes getting to Brive from the UK pretty easy. You can also get a bus or a train from England to Brive.
Flights to Brive
Flights to Brive from the UK take about 1 hour 40 minute and a return flight costs around £50 with Ryanair. So it’s a very affordable flight! Brive airport is very small but it’s kinda cute!
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Trains to Brive
Alternatively, you can catch the train from the UK to Brive. This involves a change in Paris after you’ve caught the Eurostar from London to Paris.
To get from Paris to Brive you’ll need to change from Gare du Nord to Gare d’Austerlitz and then get the train to Brive.
Buses to Brive from the UK
If getting the bus is your preferred method of travel you can also get the bus from London to Brive. This involves one change in Paris and the whole journey takes around 18 hours. Take a look here to find bus times to Brive on Omio (this one if you’re in US/Canada)
Getting around the area
The easiest way to see more of Corrèze and The Dordogne Valley is to hire a car. This gives you some more freedom to explore on your own schedule and see some of the smaller towns that aren’t well served by public transport.
I use RentalCars.com to check prices on hiring a car all over the world.
Where to stay in Brive
If you’re planning to use Brive as your base for exploring the Corrèze and Dordogne regions then take a look at these top rated hotels in Brive.
- Budget-friendly: La Truffe Noire | Ibis Brive Centre | La Pigeonnier
- Mid-range: Hotel Les Originals | Champollion | Chateau de Lacan
- Luxury: Junoir Suite at La Truffe Noire
Best things to do in Brive la Gaillarde
Whilst there isn’t an endless list of things to do in Brive, there’s still plenty to keep visitors entertained.
Brive has such a lovely array of shops. From more recognisable high street stores to independent shops you cod easily spend house browsing for new homeward or French fashion statements.
Visit Brive la Gaillarde market
The Brive la Gaillarde market day is most days from Tuesday and Saturday.
The Brive market is ideal for foodies. There’s everything from fresh fish and meat to live poultry, flowers, bread and fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls selling non-foodie goods such as clothing and jewellery.
Go to the Brive festival
Brive is a small town that knows how to party!
The annual Brive festival lasts for a week at the end of July. The last four days the Brive festival becomes a music festival and plays host to some of the biggest names in French music!
Every day throughout the festival there are different music acts playing to around 17,000 people over the four days. I partied up at Brive festival on Friday night and watched big names such as Jain and Louise Attaque sing.
Feast on chocolate
The Eric Lamy chocolate shop in Brive is dangerously delicious.
Head upstairs and take a seat in the terrace on the balcony. To avoid making the impossible decision of what chocolate treat to have, ask for a selection of mini chocolates from the shop downstairs. That way you can have one of everything. Genius.
The chocolate shop also does workshops where you can learn how to make chocolate yourself. Oh, and you can’t possibly leave without picking up a bar or two for the flight home!
Bruch may not be a typically French mealtime but that doesn’t mean the fresh don’t know how to do it.
For 10€ you can enjoy a massive plate of cheese, meats, salad and French bread with a drink overlooking the Brive market. When we were there, there was even some live music to accompany us.
The perfect place to refuel after exploring the town.
Best things to do near Brive la Gaillarde
If you’re looking for more things to do near Brive then check out this post about the top 5 adventures in the Dordogne Valley and read about the most beautiful towns in The Dordogne Valley (seriously, they’re so pretty). If you’re a foodie you’ll love this post about the food I ate (& where) in the Dordogne Valley.