The small town of Gensac sits on the slopes of the Dordogne River half-way between Castillon la Bataille et de Sainte-Foy la Grande. The commune is on the edge of the Entre Deux Mers vineyards, which are in the southern part of the Bordeaux wine region. The local AOC wine is called Sainte-Foy Bordeaux. With a population of around 850, its inhabitants are known as Gensacais / Gensacaises
The origin of the name apparently comes from the town’s latin motto Gens acutat tenet, which can be translated as ‘people who resist’ or ‘people who have courage’. There is no trace of any settlement here prior to the Middle Ages, when Eleanor of Aquitaine brought the lands of Aquitaine into the hands of the English on her marriage to the future Henry II in 1152. As part of a general process of fortification of the area against incursions by the French, a citadel and village was constructed at Gensac. The town remained in the hands of the English until the battle of Castillon in 1453, which brought the ‘Hundred Years War’ to an end.
During the reign of Louis XV , the Citadel and the castle began to be dismantled. At the French Revolution , the castle completely disappeared. The stones from the walls and the castle used to build new houses in the village.
During World War II , the French Demarcation line (the boundary line marking the division of Metropolitan France into the territory occupied and administered by the German Army (Zone occupée) in the northern and western part of France and the Free zone) passed just north of Gensac. The village was in the Free zone until November 1942.
There are a number of important local buildings, including the church, which was built of stone in the 19th century. The town had had two previous churches, both constructed in wood and which had burnt down. Others include:
– Watchtower house of nobility of the 17th century.
– Cats in the House where he was assassinated the Chevalier de Pardaillan, Middle Ages to the nineteenth.
– Tudor style house, the Middle Ages to the seventeenth.
– Remains of walls, High Middle Ages.
– Theatre in 1900.
– Belfry of the late 19th century.
– Temple of the Free Church of the 19th century. Currently occupied by a pharmacy.
– Temple reform of the mid-19th century.
– Valens castle of the 14th and 15th centuries, remains.
– Maison du Boulanger: 19th former bakehouse with its oven and antique hardware, kitchen and bedroom, shop.
Take your time to explore Gensac, through visiting the Museum in the village, the Library or just take a stroll around the village with these postcards which show how things have changed over the past 100 years or so.
Postcards from 2oth Century
This one was taken just outside our front door!
La Poste et Allees de la Republique
L’ Hotel de Ville
Echaug Ette De Pardailhan
Rue Du Temple
La Grande Rue
La Rue de Pellagrue
The Clock Tower dates from the 19th century.
Place de la Halle
The covered market was built 1910/1920.
Place de la Marie et l’Echauguette
Vallee de la Dureze et de la Dordogne
Vielle Cote Quartier de l’Eglise
Vue General cote Ouest
Vue General Prise des Coteaux de Juillac