It is the wine-making capital of northern Gironde and lies near Saint-Émilion and Pomerol.
Libourne is located at the confluence of the Isle and Dordogne rivers.
In 1270, Leybornia was founded as a bastide by Roger de Leybourne (of Leybourne, Kent), an English seneschal of Gascony, under the authority of King Edward I of England. It suffered considerably in the struggles of the French and English for the possession of Gironde in the 14th century, and joined France in the 15th century.
In December 1854 John Stuart Mill passed through Libourne, remarking "I stopped at Libourne as I intended & had a walk about it this morning quite the best thing there is the bridge of the Dordogne, the view from which is really fine".
The Gothic church, restored in the 19th century, has a stone spire 232 ft (71 m) high. On the quay there is a machicolated clock-tower which is a survival of the defensive walls of the 14th century. The town-house, containing a small museum and a library, is a quaint relic of the 16th century. It is located by the main square, the Place Abel Surchamp, which hosts every weekend one of the largest fresh food market in the region. There is a statue of Élie, duc Decazes, who was born in the region.