LOT ET GARONNE
The department takes its name from the two rivers that transverse the region and is renowned for its fertile plains, expansive farmlands and well-preserved countryside which makes it the perfect location for nature lovers. The region also has 200kms of navigable waterways and 3500kms of trails making it an ideal destination for walkers or those seeking more thrilling outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, water skiing and mountain biking.
Food and gastronomy are close to the hearts of the Lot et Garonnais. The region produces 70 different kinds of fruit and vegetables, foie gras, wine and Armagnac but is perhaps best known for the Agen prune where its orchards provide 65% of France’s production. Local festivals celebrate the diverse culinary heritage including the tomato festival in Marmande, the wine festival at Duras and the Tourtière festival in Penne d’Agenais. This passion for food and the outdoor life is set against a remarkable architectural heritage with Bastide towns dating back to the middle ages, sumptuous châteaux, rural windmills and pigeonnier towers.
Part of the Region of Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charente, Lot et Garonne is one of the original 83 French departments and its capital Agen dates back to Neolithic times. Lot et Garonne is a landlocked department bordered by The Gironde, Dordogne, Lot, Tarn et Garonne, Gers and the maritime pine forests of Les Landes. There are limestone hills to the north, but the vast majority of the region consists of the fertile plane between the two rivers.
This is the perfect time to be considering buying in the Lot et Garonne where your property euro still goes that bit further. The economic crisis saw prices fall between 2009 and 2014, making properties today very attractive and affordable. Prices have levelled out and the first quarter of 2015 saw a modest growth. The high level of demand we are experiencing, together with Notaries’ statistics, suggest this upward trend is likely to continue.
The Lot et Garonne offers a good selection of rural properties with large amounts of land. This make it particularly suited to equestrian properties or for people looking for more rural, secluded lifestyles. The bastide villages and towns throughout the Lot et Garonne offer the charm of terraced flint, stone and colombage houses, walled courtyards and cobbled streets all with commanding views across the surrounding countryside. At the top end of the market are prestigious châteaux and rural manoirs with expansive lands and privacy assured.
Expect to pay around 150,000€ for a small simple rural property or a village house. If you can push your budget to over 200,000€ you will obtain a detached property with its own land. For a substantial four-bedroom farmhouse with a pool, prices start at around 300,000€. As you move up the housing ladder, you will come across beautiful country estates with extensive outbuildings for 500,000€ plus. However, if you want to enjoy the truly bourgeois lifestyle then a stylish château can be obtained from around 800,000€. Whatever your budget, we will help you find a property that offers the many pleasures of living in the Lot et Garonne.
The Lot et Garonne is easily reached via the airports of Bergerac and Toulouse. Direct flights can be taken from the UK cities of Bristol, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Liverpool. There are also flights to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels. Agen is four hours from Paris by train and the A62 motorway that serves the area connects Bordeaux to the city of Toulouse. If you are thinking about sailing from the UK, the closest ferry ports are St Malo and Caen but you could also consider Santander which is just over the border with Spain.
The word most associated with this town is of course ‘prune’; it is the heart of prune production in France. The world famous pruneaux d’Agen are very versatile and are used in various gateaux and local delicacies. They are also soaked in alcohol and served as a digestive after dinner – be warned they are particularly strong! The town hosts a festival every year in September to celebrate the humble prune with a variety of bands, acrobats and of course prune tasting. Agen is the prefecture for the Lot and Garonne and as such many of the most prestigious buildings in the centre of the town house the local council, court rooms and police headquarters. The town centre is well worth a visit, with a good range of individual boutiques, a number of pretty mediaeval buildings and on Saturdays the Place des Laitiers hosts an organic market. Agen is also a rugby stronghold and the team SU Agen is well supported by the locals. Agen marks almost the midway point between Bordeaux and Toulouse, it has its own small airport and is skirted by the Canal du Midi.
Although the town has an unremarkable centre compared to the picturesque bastide towns of the Lot and Garonne, it has some great facilities. Located to the South of the Lot and Garonne on the way to Mont de Marsan, Casteljaloux is frequented due to its great swimming lake, beach, golf course and spa.
The spa at Casteljaloux is perfect for a self-indulgent day of swimming, sauna, jacuzzi and various beauty treatments. To the south of Casteljaloux you enter into the pine forests of Les Landes.
Castelmoron sur Lot is a small and friendly village. A visit to the weekly market is highly recommended. The ‘beach’ is a two minutes walk from the village where you can hire a variety of boats in the summer season.
This pretty 13th century bastide village is quieter than its neighbours but nevertheless it has an attractive village centre and a good range of commerce.
The village centres around the Place des Cornieres which has the Mairie buildings along one side and the church on another. The square, like many in France, plays host to the popular weekly market and other festivities during the year. Castillonnès also has a cinema which shows most films in French but also a few in English.
Nearby is the lake at Lougratte, which is ideal for a dip in summer.
Located on the Gironde/Lot and Garonne border, Duras is best known for its impressive 12th century château which sits in a dominant position overlooking the Dropt valley.
Visitors can scale the tower to appreciate the panoramic views from the very top and it is the site for various classical recitals and productions during the year. The town centre has a smattering of small boutique shops, restaurants and bars and the main square is the location for the various festivals and fêtes. Just below the town is the Maison du Vin which allows you to taste and of course purchase the wine produced in the local area.
To accompany the wine there is a wonderful chocolate producer, Maison Guinguet, where you can take a tour of the factory or just purchase the various sweet delights.
The village of Lauzun sits between Eymet and Castillonnès, in the north of the Lot and Garonne, it is separated from the Dordogne by the river Dropt.
The village is dominated by its château, which was developed from the original medieval fortress to a renaissance palace and hosted visits from Catherine de Medicis and her son, King Charles IX.
The village also has a good range of commerce and a market on a Saturday morning. As only a short distance from Eymet, the area remains popular with the British and is the location for a private school that follows a British curriculum.
Monflanquin is listed as one of the "most beautiful villages in France" and it is easy to see why. It dates back to the 13th century, when most of the region was ruled by the British, but this particular bastide was founded by the French.
The town centre has beautifully preserved colonnades and tucked underneath are the various, boutiques, bars and restaurants. However, its side streets and alleys are equally attractive and wandering through you will discover the villages' historical buildings and elements of architectural beauty.
Famous for its mediaeval festivities in the summer! Monflanquin is particularly popular with the British, Belgian and Dutch who all appreciate the village' heritage, panoramic vistas, pretty stone properties and easy proximity to Bergerac airport.
Located on the pilgramage route of Saint Jacques de Compostelle, Penne d'Agenais is a fortified bastide town with traditional architecture.
The town really has one main route to the top of the town where, passing all of the shops, you will find the basilica of Notre-Dame du Peyragude, where you can pause for a moment and enjoy the stunning views across the Lot valley and the town's port, Le port de Penne.
Pujols is one of the most beautiful villages in France, overlooking the Lot valley and offers visitors a rare insight into the mediaeval world of times gone by. The village is surrounded by fortifications of the thirteenth century, it has a collegiate church and a hall all of which are great examples of mediaeval architecture.
On Friday mornings the open-air market provides a colourful example of French life, with local regional products and delicious treats! Of course the river Lot is located nearby where you can water ski, fish and swim in the floating swimming pool that is located on the river.
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