The Agen area
Encircled by the Périgord, Quercy, Guyenne, Landes and Gascogne regions, the Agen area, with its sunny climate and fertile soils, offers varied and unspoiled landscapes that evoke Tuscany. There are some 3,500 km of paths for hikers and ramblers and a network of 300 km of navigable waterways, which are among the most picturesque in France.
The area boasts the largest theme park in south-west France, a spa health resort, six golf courses, a tourist train, bathing and fishing lakes, and a tree-top adventure trail. Visitors can also enjoy rock climbing, go-karting, microlight and hot-air balloon flights, as well as a series of festivals throughout the summer… Lot-et-Garonne possesses an exceptional natural and cultural heritage, with no fewer than 150 sites of interest, 42 bastide towns, more than 3,000 dovecotes and a number of magnificent chateaux.
Justifiably described as the “largest orchard in France”, Lot-et-Garonne is a food lover’s paradise and its reputation for excellence is firmly established. In addition to the world-famous Agen prune (‘pruneau d’Agen’), its pre-eminent product, Lot-et-Garonne gastronomy holds further numerous delights.
Founded in the Gallo-Roman era, the city of Agen is more than two thousand years old. It has had a turbulent history, marked by the Wars of Religion, outbreaks of plague and famine… The development of trade in the nineteenth century allowed the city to expand, an expansion that continues to the present day.
Nowadays Agen owes its fame to rugby, with its oval ball, and to an oval fruit, the prune. Of its past, the city retains mediaeval quarters, such as the area around the rue des Cornières, in which some residences date from the fourteenth century. Rue Beauville, with its half-timbered houses, is a fine example of fifteenth century Agen. A few paces away, the Jacobin church, formerly the chapel of the Dominican monastery, built during the twelfth century on the highest point of the city, is a rare intact example of Dominican architecture in France.
The cathedral of Saint-Caprais, which dates from the eleventh century, presents a mixture of styles, testimony to several phases of reconstruction over the centuries. It retains a remarkable Romanesque chevet.
The Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) is a must for art lovers. Housed in four large Renaissance town houses, the museum is home to a rich collection of paintings from a number of different schools, as well as decorative art works, notably ceramics by Bernard Palissy, a native of the region.
Finally, no visit to Agen would be complete without a stroll in the Jardins du Gravier, where a delightful walk along the Garonne and a wonderful view of the nineteenth century stone canal bridge await you.
Located on the banks of the Garonne, in the administrative region of Aquitaine,
midway between Bordeaux and Toulouse, Agen is a city with a rich history resulting from a past of more than a thousand years.