Agen, in the land of Prunes

Upon entering the tourist office in Agen, you are greeted with a selection of local goods which consists of Prunes (dried plums) in multiple forms. However, Agen is full of other delicious foods, timbered houses, carved stone hotel particuliers, an impressive art museum, and a really unique canal/aqueduct system built in the mid-1800s that is still in use today.

How to Get There :

There is a Gare/train station in Agen, which runs regularly from Bordeaux-St Jean, as well as an airportAgen-La Garenne (with small, regional flights). The regularity of trains and flights is really up in the air after covid, so be sure to check regularly!

While you could do one long day, you could also make a weekend of it. Car rentals can be found at the airport and train station. If you don’t want a manual, be sure to request well in advance.

What to See:

There is a sweet little medieval center which is probably the best place to wander and where most of the main sites are located. Agen may be off the typical tourist path, there is so much to see and really great quality sites for it’s size.

Tuesday and Saturday are city market days in Agen in the center of town, but if you aren’t there on city market day you can always stop by the Marche Couvert d’Agen which was really impressive. Aside from the great selection of local products, I saw some unique products that you don’t see many other places (and I hadn’t seen since I lived in Barcelona) / Place Jean-Baptiste Durand, 47000 Agen / Open Tuesday-Saturday from 7am-1pm and 4pm-730pm and Sunday morning, closed Sunday afternoon and all day Monday / https://www.facebook.com/marchecouvertagen

Musee des Beau-Arts Agen is one of the best art museums I’ve been to in the area, with quality pieces from centuries past. In particular, there are some paintings with such miniscule details that you need a magnifying glass to see! The employees of the museum were equally impressive, engaging with our girls and sharing unique information on pieces / Kids are free and adults are 5.80 EURO / Closed Tuesdays / +33 (0)5 53 69 47 23 / Avenue d’Agen, 47000 / https://www.agen.fr/mes-loisirs/culture/musee-des-beaux-arts-356.html

If you want to take a nice walk outside in nature, 20 minutes by foot (for five by car) from central Agen is Pont-Canal d’Agen. It’s a really nice place to walk where you can marvel at the construction and appreciate the view over the Garonne. It can be a little hectic with small children as there are some places with no barriers on sides. Started in 1839 and finally put into service in 1856, the canal allows river boats on the river to pass from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, connecting to the Canal du Midi, thus creating the ‘Canal Deux Mers’ / https://www.canaldumidi.com/Lot-et-Garonne/Agen/Agen-Pont-Canal.php

Food being the purpose of my travels, is usually why I pick a place to see…so when in Agen you have to visit a plum farm! There is the Ferme et Musee du Pruneau which is fun with older kids (about 4o minutes drive north of Agen). This is a self-guided tour with headphones, there are plenty of interactive activities and a tasting at the end. My kids loved the prunes and so we took some home in their charming metal tin. Give yourself a good hour. Best time would be spring when all of the trees are in bloom / +33 (0)5 53 84 00 69 / Le Gabach, 47320 Lafitte sur Lot / Visits for Under 5 are free, 6-12 are 3 EURO and over 12 are 5 EURO / https://www.musee-du-pruneau.com/tarifs

Where to Eat:

<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p><strong>Fromagerie l'Epicurium</strong> is a woman-owned cheese shop and wine bar in Agen that has a great selection of local cheeses. Super friendly staff and owner to help you make your selection! 76 Rue Montesquieu, 47000 Agen / +33 (0)5 53 84 00 69 / lepicurium.agen@orange.fr / <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://lepicurium-agen.fr/&quot; target="_blank">http://lepicurium-agen.fr/</a></p&gt; Fromagerie l’Epicurium is a woman-owned cheese shop and wine bar in Agen that has a great selection of local cheeses. Super friendly staff and owner to help you make your selection! Open Tuesday-Saturday 9am-140pm and 4pm-7pm / 76 Rue Montesquieu, 47000 Agen / +33 (0)5 53 67 85 67 / lepicurium.agen@orange.fr / http://lepicurium-agen.fr/

La Fabrique du Patissiere is located in center of town a great place to sit and have gouter after the museum or a walk (although they do offer a salon du the and cafe with sandwiches as well). Maitre Artisan (which is essentially someone at the top of their craft) Jean-Pierre SEMPER creates beautiful and delicious sweet creations from pastries to chocolates and more. I’m a huge fan of his fine nut (noix) creation / 46 Rue Montesquieu, 47000 Agen / +33 (0)9 83 55 99 61 / https://www.lafabriquedupatissier.fr/

Where to Stay:

Holiday home The Pigeonnier at Camout is soooo charming and is a short 20 minutes drive into the countryside. It’s two bedroom and two bath stay with owner and chef/instructor Kate Hill. Chef Hill offers culinary courses (online during covid but confirm what’s available) at her home through ‘Kitchen at Camout‘ and is also the author of ‘A Culinary Journey in Gascony‘. Check out her Instagram which is full of food history and life in the French countryside / ‘Camout’, 47310 Sainte Colombe-en-Bruilhois / +33 (0)6 82 89 70 06 / https://www.gites.fr/gites_the-pigeonnier-at-camont_sainte-colombe-en-bruilhois_h3295510_en.htm

or

Hotel Chateau des Jacobins is an independently owned hotel that I’d choose for the location in central Agen and fun interior at under 100 EURO a night / http://chateau-des-jacobins.com/fr.html

If you want to explore more in the area, check out Auch, the Capitol of Gascony https://aquitainetravelguide.com/2020/02/27/a-visit-to-the-historic-capital-of-gascony

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