Although Agen is renowned for the delicious French prunes, this charming southwestern town is also appreciated for its lively and homely ambiance. Surrounded by the typical Quercy’s rolling hills and south Perigord’s plateaux, the capital city of the Lot et Garonne used to be a strategic area torn between Mayenne’s Brits and Gascony’s French. Today, the Agenais’ inhabitants are pleased to preserve this historical heritage.
The Lot et Garonne department is littered with corn fields and fruit-growing exploitations, but the most renowned produce is unquestionably the “pruneaux d’Agen” (Agen prunes). Local produce and market gardens are indeed the main assets of the area – and will satisfy every French food connoisseurs.
Nevertheless, Agen also offers a pleasant quality of life, highly appreciated by the neighbouring population from Bordeaux and Toulouse who like spending a relaxing weekend in the “fruity” capital. Strolling in the lovely streets of the centre or along the river Garonne’s canal before relishing some Aquitaine meals could be your next everyday life!
Despite a pleasant and convenient central situation, Agen’s area remains pretty cheap compared to the rest of the Aquitaine region. The average property prices are growing very slowly, staggering from €950/sq m to €1,500/sq m.
Inversely, restoring a house has been a boosted trend since the town council and the national foundation for local architecture heritages’ preservation introduced new plans for both private and public property. Offering tax deductions and allowances for renovating ancient buildings and entrusting the works to specialised companies are the major conditions; this made prospective buyers more confident and improved Agen’s property market.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Dordogne, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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Being one of the Lot et Garonne major cities, Agen is increasingly sought after. This lively little town develops its cultural and tourist facilities as well as student life. The fresh new website dedicated to local students (www.agen12-25.fr) is a great example of Agen’s dynamism.
Transport links: located along France’s A62 motorway, halfway from Bordeaux and Toulouse (about 1h away by car), Agen is really easy to reach. High-speed train lines link it to the Paris-Montparnasse station (4 hours) when it may take a mere 1h20 to travel from Agen airport to Paris.
Architectural heritage: from the Catholic Saint Caprais Cathedral or Notre Dame du Bourg church to the Musée des Beaux Arts (museum), Agen provides miscellaneous architecture styles. A great example of this variety is the Rue des Cornières – recently refurbished – with Roman, Gothic and Basket-handle buildings.
River and canal: Agen’s best asset is the picturesque Canal des Deux Mers (“canal of the two seas”) where you can rent a typical péniche and tour the area by boat – a great deal to catch a sight of the terrific landscapes. The Canal Bridge is also worth a stop. The second longest bridge of France indeed offers a stunning view of the town and the rolling countryside.
”Pruneaux d’Agen”: fancy a typical south western meal? You cannot miss the prunes from Agen then, this delightful black, rippled fruit is a gem of gastronomy. You may readily find some at the local farmers’ and organic markets and enjoy them as a dessert to complement a plain yogurt or in a typical "Far Breton"(Brittany cake).
The little town of Agen has a breathtaking range of property styles on offer! The Notre Dame des Jacobins is a former monastery, an outstanding illustration of the simple – and quite austere – Dominican architecture, whilst the opposite Notre Dame du Bourg is a Gothic church. And the choice is as wide for the dwellings: from brick mansions to stone houses in Agen’s retreat, you may easily find your dream home!
Brick houses: Agen’s city centre is filled with lovely red brick houses. These majestic mansions are locally known as “maisons bourgeoises” (referring to the French bourgeois) due to their elegant looking.
19th-century buildings: Agen has been through many architecture eras, the late 19th century being one of them, leaving to the town some majestic buildings. The high street, Boulevard de la Republique, boasts multi-storey houses with iron balconies inspired by the well-known Baron Haussman (manager of Paris 19th-century refurbishment.
Medieval timber-framed houses: like many other southern towns founded in the medieval times, Agen has its preserved 15th-style quarter, with timber-framed houses and little cobbled streets. The Rue Beaumont – hosting today the offices of Lot et Garonne’s historical heritage department – includes an exceptional corner porch of reversed squinch (curved ceiling).
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