Saturday, June 4, 2016

France's tiniest town: Castelmoron-d'Albret

Ceramic pots hang on the outside of a house in Castelmoron-d'Albret.

Castelmoron-d'Albret may be the smallest commune in France (in area) but it doesn't feel that way. Brimming with charm and housing a thriving artisans' workshop, the village is a worthy stop if you're in the neighborhood. That neighborhood is in the Entre Deux Mers area of the Gironde department, about 20 minutes west of Duras and 15 minutes north of La Reole.

One of about 50 pretty residences in Castelmoron-d'Albret

According to the village's website, Castelmoron-d'Albret is 3.54 hectares — about the size of Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris. Just 55 castelmoronais and castelmoronaise live here full time, according to 2008 population data.

Covered market square in Castelmoron-d'Albret

As its name implies, the village was closely tied with the House of Albret, which acquired the town in 1330 and kept it for more than three centuries. Castelmoron remained the capital of the duchy of Albret until the French Revolution. King Charles X and the Dauphin of France stopped by in 1828. Until the middle of the 20th century, Castelmoron was a bustling center for the surrounding towns.

This door marks what may have been the entrance to a cinema
in Castelmoron-d'Albret

Another pretty door in Castelmoron-d'Albret

... and another

Despite an economic decline, archaeological and historical interest in the town has kept it alive. Scenes from a couple of movies were filmed here, and pretty streets, squares and stairways attract visitors all year round.

The view below from above in Castelmoron-d'Albret

Stained-glass window on the church in Castelmoron-d'Albret

And of course, there's les poteries. In addition to the shop and adjoining tea garden, artisans offer a variety of workshops by appointment for groups and individuals. For information, call or email

Pottery shop and artisans' workshop in Castelmoron-d'Albret

Entrance to the tea garden adjacent to the pottery shop
in Castelmoron-d'Albret

Tea garden in Castelmoron-d'Albret

Pottery fans won't want to miss the 16th annual Marché de Potiers on June 19, 2016. More than 25 potters will be on hand to display and sell their wares. Demonstrations, food and music also will be part of the event which runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A potter works upstairs at the Castelmoron-d'Albret pottery shop.

If hiking is more to your liking, two scenic hiking trails commence in Castelmoron-d'Albret. Information can be found on the village website.

Signs in Castelmoron-d'Albret point the way to various
hiking paths and bike routes.

In addition to the tea garden, Chez Pierre is a small café/brocante that is open in the summer. Another dining option: Sauveterre-de-Guyenne (which I recently wrote about here) has an array of restaurants, and it's just 10 minutes away.

Chez Pierre café and brocante in Castelmoron-d'Albret

One last note: Thanks to mon amie americaine Donna who owns the cozy Clocktower Cottage gite in Duras for suggesting that I visit Castelmoron-d'Albret.

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