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ripening grapes in the Loire

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Auvillar – worth a detour!

Southwest France is so rich with pretty and historic villages that it can be difficult to choose the best. Many are fortified “bastide” towns which owe their origins to the wars between the French and the English, at a time when the French and English and the local dukes fought over the region – Gascony, Quercy and Aquitaine. Auvillar (82 Tarn et Garonne, Midi Pyrenees) may not be a classic square bastide, but is a medieval village sited high above on the banks of the river Garonne, east of Agen.

Apart from being one of Plus Beaux Villages de France – Most Beautiful Villages of France and being a stop on the Pilgrims Route to St Jean de Compostella it also has an impressive central, circular medieval market hall,surrounded by arcaded shops and houses, a 17th Century church and magnificent views from its position above the Garonne River.

Unilke many other “most Beautiful Villages” this feels like a real ”lived-in” village, cared for but not prettified. Whilst there are numerous cafe/restaurants to meet the needs of pilgrims and tourists, they do not dominate the quiet streets of the village. Between Agen and Moissac, just off the A62(Bordeaux – Toulouse) autoroute, not far from the vineyards of Buzet. The local wine is the Cotes de Brulhois, e.g. the red Vin Noir – a blend of Tannat, Merlot and Cabernets (see )

For more info on the village see


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