Lot-et-Garonne (department number 47) is located the southwest of France in the region of Aquitaine and has an estimated population of 305,380 (approximate in 1999).
The capital of the department is Agen. Other large towns in the area are Marmande, Nérac and Villeneuve-sur-Lot.
The department is named after the Lot and Garonne rivers, which run through it.
Why you should visit Lot-et-Garonne for your next holiday in France
The department is very beautiful; the area is bursting with vibrant colour and has a Tuscany feel. Chateaux and medieval towns are plentiful with many regional gastronomic delights waiting to be enjoyed. Add all this to the Mediterranean climate and the area cannot fail to deliver a great vacation.
There are plenty of opportunities for a variety of sporting activities including canoeing, walking, cycling, golf, horse-riding… the list is endless.
The climate is a cross between Atlantic maritime and Mediterranean. Early springs, long hot summers and mild winters. The area sees short sharp thunderstorms in the summer with soft drizzly rain in the winter.
What to see in Lot-et-Garonne
The lower reaches of the River Lot makes its way through a large fertile valley and joins with the Garonne at Aiguillon. It is now possible to bring a boat through the Canal du Midi from the Mediterranean or from the Atlantic through Bordeaux, as far as Villeneuve-sur Lot.
The capital of the department is the city of Agen. It is strategically placed between the cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse, making it easily accessible from the UK. River Barges are a popular site in Agen, especially during the summer months, when the colourful boats can be seen on the waterways that pass through the city.
The Canal du Midi that links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and the huge River Garonne run parallel to one another. A thriving city, Agen would make a great holiday destination as it is well geared to offer everything you could require and has great links to the rest of France. The city is well known as the centre of prune production, a gastronomic delight that is very popular in the regions culinary dishes.
The delightful market town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot lies in the heart of the Lot-et-Garonne. The town's most prominent landmark is the red-brick tower of the church of Ste-Catherine. Villeneuve-sur-Lot has no train station, but SNCF runs regular bus services to Agen, which is on the Bordeaux–Toulouse line. The surrounding countryside comprises of lush green farmland, plum and apple orchards and fields upon fields of strawberries and sunflowers.
The market town of Marmande is located in the north-west corner of the department and is one of the largest bastide towns that proliferate in Aquitaine. Word has it that Marmande was founded by Richard the Lionheart on the site of an ancient settlement. The town has developed around a central square and is now home to many attractive shops, cafés and markets. Marmande is best known for the delicious variety of tomatoes and this is an important trade today.
Historic Nérac is a picturesque medieval town, whose main focus is on Henri IV's chateau. Set on the river Baise, there is plenty of opportunity for boat trips and boat-hire or strolls along the river bank. There are plenty of restaurants and a wide range of shops to choose from. You can also buy handmade chocolate from the artisan chocolaterie. The chocolate is so delicious that it was the inspiration behind the novel 'Chocolat'. A busy Saturday market in the town is the perfect time to sample local produce.
Other towns in the department include Fumel and Casteljaloux.
How to get to Lot-et-Garonne
There are daily connecting flights from Paris to the regional capital Bordeaux, direct regular flights from London and seasonal flights from a number of international destinations. A number of cheap airlines fly to regional airports such as Agen, Biarritz and Pau. BMI baby also fly to Bordeaux from Manchester and Birmingham.
Aquitaine is easily reached by main motorways or national routes. The journey from Calais to Agen is about 1000 km and should take around 9 hours.
Eurostar runs via the Channel Tunnel between London (Waterloo) and Paris (Gare de Nord) in 3 hours. Paris is linked to the high speed rail network (TGV). Departures for Aquitaine are from Gare Montparnasse station.
Rail tickets must be validated by using the orange automatic date stamping machines at the platform entrance. Failure to do this can result in a fine.