Holiday for 2 Lot Garonne South West France

History of Churches and Cathedrals in the Lot et Garonne Nouvelle Aquitaine SW France.

Consecrated Cathedral Saint Caprais Agen

A reflection on the stories told by holiday guests over the years here at Gone Fishin’ in the sunny Lot et Garonne.

This month we share with you The Cathedral Saint Caprais in Agen. Lot et Garonne Nouvelle Aquitaine.

But first breaking news …… Since early September 2019 the cathedral Saint Caprais in Agen has been the talk of the town. Why?

Well, it all started with the discovery of an ancient sarcophagus on September 3rd 2019 and then to top that they discovered 5 skeletons on 13th November 2019 . Pictures courtesy Sud Ouest paper.

Saint Caprais Agen
Saint Caprais Agen Breaking news of discover
Saint Caprais Agen. Five skeletons
Saint Caprais Agen. Five skeletons Found at the entrance

The five skeletons lying on their back with one being a child and as expected by now the bones so brittle. All of this is openly displayed to passers by hence the talk of the town. When we have further details I will add to this article and update.

 

 

Built in the twelfth century, this cathedral Saint Caprais in Agen was ransacked so many times.

 An eventful past and surprisingly there are still some treasures left, and it is not the only building worth seeing in the vicinity

The Cathedral was consecrated in 1802, Saint-Caprais and is classified in the world inheritance of Unesco under the heading “the roads of Saint Jacques de Compostela”.

Its architecture, predominantly Romanesque, is a reflection of its history and that of the city of Agen

Agen Saint Caprais
Agen Saint Caprais Unearthed skeletons

Established 15 centuries ago as a basilica, then destroyed by the Normans in 853.

Again rebuilt, this time enlarged from the twelfth century, Then destroyed again by the Albigensians !

Again rebuilt, by the Protestants, then when the Revolution arrived even more destruction but only not to recover until the nineteenth century. Absolutely amazing history.

So much more history can be unearthed with more research.

The Cathedral Organ at Saint Caprais Agen

In 1855, restoration began on the organ at Saint Caprais  , to be able to show off it had to be big so as to create prestige in the city. The house Stoltz and Schaff makes an advantageous proposal: They would deliver the organ they had built after they had unveiled it at World Fair held in Paris the same year. The Empress Eugenie , seduced by the idea, she then buys the organ and gives it to the parish.

Monumental Cathedral organ
Monumental Cathedral organ at Saint Caprais Cathedral Agen

 

In 1859, the organ is installed. With its three keyboards, and 45 games pedals, it is the largest in Lot-et-Garonne and hosts a festival every summer.

Richly decorated walls

 

 

 

 

In 1845 the painter Jean-Louis Bézard, Prix de Rome, was chosen to create the murals of the cathedral.

Richly decorated walls at Saint Caprais Cathedral Agen
Richly decorated walls at Saint Caprais Cathedral Agen

 This took 14 years, he painted all the decor that affirms the character of the building largely inspired Sicilian churches and Byzantine art.

 The French Revolution is over, religious art returns and all is normal.

 The figures of the Bible, the iconography of Mary, are themes used by the painter is admired by all .

But there is much more to this story as it also presents the martyrdom of the saints Agenais , while revealing, in its way, the Catholic history of the Agenais.

We will next visit Marmande Notre Dame with our next guests … see you soon

Bird Watchers Lets Talk Birds In South West France

The Grue on migration over the Lot et Garonne

In particular the Common Crane known as the Grue that has been flying over your ‘holiday home from home’ here at Gone Fishin’ in the sunny Lot et Garonne..

You don’t need Bird Watching Binoculars to find them because you hear them!

This Beautiful and picturesque area known as the Lot et Garonne Nouvelle Aquitaine  is a flight path for the grue also known as the common crane .A moment in time enjoyed by bird watchers.

They are seen and enjoyed by birdwatchers that watch with fascination their migration overhead ,recently there has been thousands of these majestic birds actually flying over our home here at Gone Fishin’ in the sunny Lot et Garonne.

Le Grue passing over Gone Fishin
La Grue passing over Gone Fishin

La Grue ( common crane) are flying on their annual migration from Scandinavia and Germany to Africa to avoid colder months.

They remind me of Canada geese migrating to the states with their trumpets sounds whilst flying.

 

 

There are many flocks, dozens at the time , flying overhead this the past week or so but today here at Gone Fishin in the Lot et Garonne it seemed like a red letter day as we saw so many mostly in the long V formation, but sometimes when they encounter a thermal it seems they all take a break to swirl around in the air current like a giant bird circus, then floating in a spiral before coming out of the thermal and it continuing on their way .

There are many reports in the newspaper of this spectacular sight and sound.

You hear them before they emerge through the clouds, it seems so natural to look up and wish them a safe journey.

Drivers stop at will regardless so they can be at the side of the road looking up to the sky to watch them and of course many enthusiast Bird Watchers have actually been following their flight path .

When you look at the migration maps it appears they take a diagonal to a central route from the north-eastern France, through the Central regions to the south-west and in a similar trajectory  through Spain.

map showing nesting and migration route
Showing the nesting and migratory routes

Apparently they do most of their flying at night, it takes less energy. An interesting bird much to be admired.

Sometimes when passing over the centre of France they are seen resting up for the day and eating and drinking.

 

 

Crane Grus grus – Grue Cendrée

What is the wing span of the Grue (Common Crane) ?

The Common Crane is one of the largest birds in Europe with a wingspan of 2 meters and a weight of 4 – 6 kg.

Overall plumage is a nearly uniform grey with long legs and neck. Adults are distinguished by the black and white contrast to the neck and head, marked with a bright red spot and young Cranes have a brownish plumage that they keep for a year that gradually changes to adult plumage.

On the ground they appear to have a fluffy puffed up tail that is actually formed by the last wing feathers that are very elongated. 

Cranes are very sociable and gregarious during their migration and wintering when they can form very large groups, especially on the ground which can be many tens of thousands. They are however extremely territorial when nesting.  

Crane known as the Grue
Majestic Crane known as the Grue

Breeding grounds are situated principally in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic countries where large solitary nests using dry grass are constructed on the ground situated in large areas of marsh or swamp forests that can occupy up to several hundred hectares. 

Usually a couple will produce one or two eggs in May that take about 4 weeks to hatch.

Shortly after hatching, the chicks are able to follow their parents and sneak into the swamp in search of insects, molluscs and small vertebrates which then make up the bulk of their food.

Thereafter, they consume more plants: tender herbs, aquatic plants and berries.

The young start to take to the air at around two months between mid July and August when they have to prepare for their first migration when they will stay with their parents until their return in the spring. Sexual maturity isn’t actually achieved for between 3 and 5 years when, assuming they find a partner, they pair for life. Bless!

In August and September thousands of cranes gather on the Swedish island of Oland from here they can cross the Baltic sea to the Island of Rügen where around 30000 birds gather in October with about another 15,000 on the German mainland with the birds moving through in groups, arrivals and departures staying perhaps two or three days, possibly longer.

As with all things natural nothing is precise and much is determined by weather and temperature. It is access to food on the ground that is most important both during their migration and where they over winter. What we can say is that the main migration is October to December with small movements from September and possibly continuing sporadically until early Spring and that therefore the “migration” is both gradual and partial, spread out over several months with them wintering at various locations stretching from north-eastern France (Lorraine and especially Champagne) to Morocco with various locations in between, however the majority will end up in Spain with most of them in the large wintering areas of Extremadura Spain.

Migration map of the Grue Common Crane
Migration of the Grue

hey have been a protected species in France since 1967 further details about the Grue here and much more about protected species here in France

Speed of flight: 40 to 80 km / h on average. If the winds are strong and powerful, the crane moves at over 100 km / h. The crane can therefore cross France in one day.

Flight altitude: from 200 to 1,500m.

Population transiting through France: approximately 360,000 individuals 

Population wintering in France: approximately 100,000 / 120,000 individuals

Cranes transiting through France nest mainly in Sweden, Finland, northern Germany and Poland.

Why read about them in Bird Watching Magazinwhen you can see the real thing here at Gone Fishin the beautiful Lot et Garonne. For those that love fishing as a hobby we are here at Gonefishin-holiday4two and a reminder this is not a fishing holiday its just a bonus and its free. You can also find out more here at 2france4two.com and oodles more with videos here at france4two.uk Enjoy a good read you will need a cup of tea and a scrumptious piece of cake.

A Romantic Evening South West, France Lot et Garonne

Willeric restaurant Clairac

A flavour of Romance at Willeric , this quirky restaurant inClairac .

A small restaurant named Willeric about 8 minutes from your holiday home here at Gone Fishin’ hidden away in this little old fashioned village Clairac.

For that romantic and special occasion
For that romantic and special occasion Willeric

The history of this now famous quirky restaurant … 29 rue Gambetta was an old bar-hotel-restaurant, owned  by Mme Dieuzaide, from 1963 to 2000. Closed for eighteen years, it is now completely transformed into a new restaurant, retro style  of the late nineteenth century.

Fantastic that you can book online by choosing the calendar on their website enjoy there wonderful website here.. https://willeric.fr/ Open Friday to Monday, lunch and dinner.
Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Full contact details on their site.

Where you can see there full menu .

From Starters Duo of trout in ceviche and smoked salmon
Not too sure about the translation here ..Snail slipper with Mediterranean flavorsRoyale of tomato and its velouté “gobi ka” again translation makes a smile.

A choice of Main dishes .Tray of 3 curries (scallops and wild shrimp, fish and lamb)
Guinea fowl in red and black
Matured beef 40 days, cooking on individual stone
180 g →OR 270 g
desserts
Profiteroles and its ice cream flavored with Moka from Ethiopia
Waffle, Chantilly cream with Tahitian vanilla
Chocolate marquise

All pictures courtesy of Willeric.  Just 8 minutes fron your holiday home here at Gone Fishin in the Sunny Lot et Garonne. A should in the morning you feel like enjoying some carp fishing the its simpy in your garden … enjoy https://gonefishin-holiday4two.com/

Traditional Foods You Can Find South West, France Lot et Garonne

Pancake Day we missed it! February 2nd. In France its called la Chandeleur yet another excuse for a French feast!

 

The 2nd of February is la Chandeleur. This marks the end of exactly 40 days after the Christmas period coming exactly 40 days after Christmas and traditionally a catholic holiday Candlemas. … Chandeleur is celebrated throughout France (Crepes originated in Brittany) as la fête des crêpes.

Pancake day - Chandeleur Feb 02
Pancake day – Chandeleur Feb 02

Enjoyed very much in this region Lot et Garonne Aquitaine, so much so that in some of the traditional markets a taster we being given out and enjoyed by all.

Enjoy watching how to make a traditional French pancake.

Lets not forget Rick Stein who enjoyed cooking the traditional Cassoulet whilst travelling through the Lot et Garonne down the canal du midi on his boat.

To quote Rick Stein..This hearty, meat-studded dish from Southwestern France is the ultimate one-pot meal.

Sharing his recipe here

 

A Recommended Day Trip South West, France Lot et Garonne

Bonaguil Castle

The Château de Bonaguil is located in the Lot-et-Garonne, on the border with the Lot and close to the Dordogne. It is only 2 hours from Bordeaux and Toulouse, 1 hour from Agen.

From the top of its rocky outcrop, it dominates the valley and the medieval village.
It forms a group of castles, unique in Europe, in a remarkable state of conservation.

Bonaguil Castle shows off amazing architecture not to be missed as a favourite day out whilst on holiday here at Gone Fishin in the sunny Lot et Garonne.

.This wonderful example ‘Bonaguil Castle’ can be found between Périgord and Quercy in the village of Saint-Front-sur- Lémance near Fumel.

Enjoy this panoramic video of Bonaguil Castle

Built in the 13th century then modified and extended in the late 15th and early 16th centuries by Baron Bérenger de Roquefeuil, this fortress never came under any military attack, thanks to its impressive defence system.
A perfect illustration of the use of military architecture and techniques from the Middle Ages via the Renaissance to the early days of the Vauban fortifications.
Special organised Tours ( or simply stroll around) around Bonaguil Castle, you will be transported on a journey back to the time of the knights. Explore the towers and turrets, barbican, gunpowder store, casemates with embrasures, drawbridge and moats.

The top of the Fort boasts a panoramic terrace with a wonderful view over the whole fortress and spectacular surrounding scenery.

Theatre festival are held at the Bonaguil castle every first week of August and is certainly popular with guests.

Whilst touring Bonaguil Castle you can wander around the Fortress, the caves, walk drawbridges and take yourself into its life of medieval history.

Graffiti in the caves ay Bonaguil castle
Graffite in the caves of the castle

In 1976, whilst exploring Bonaguil Castle the archaeologists Gilles SERAPHIN, Daniel FRUGIER and Michel EGRETAUD discovered under the Barbican, a low chamber under a broken cradle which served in the XVI and XVII centuries a storage place, and found important archaeological furniture . This discovery, associated with the discovery a few years earlier a set of graffiti on the internal walls of the Big Tower, comes to remind us that Bonaguil was indeed a place where people actually lived.

Bonaguil castle
Bonaguil Castle rooms

The storage place where they disposed of broken pottery they found simple clay cups and eating utensils, remains of beautiful stemmed glasses .
Their analysis is still to be done but they decided to put them in front of the public in 2013.

A lovely day out indeed and ant Bonaguil there is a lovely restaurant. Importantly there are car parks adjacent to the restaurant and also at the entrance of the Castle.

Siri – tell me about the Lot et Garonne in South West France

Coat of arms of the Lot et Garonne

Siri – tell me about the Lot et Garonne in South West France

“The Lot et Garonne is a department in South West France that sits 123 km ( by road) from Bordeaux. Approx car travel time 1hr 23 mins”.

Siri- Why is it called The Lot et Garonne

The area was named after the Lot and Garonne rivers. It is one of eighty three departments created in 1790 as a result of the French Revolution

Siri – In what region of France is the Lot et Garonne

The region is called Nouvelle Aquitaine.

Siri – What is the main town of Nouvelle Aquitaine

The main town is Agen known as the Prefecture followed by the Sub – prefectures  Marmande, Nerac and Villeneuve sur Lot.

Agen city
The city of Agen which is the prefecture of the Lot et Garonne
Villeneuve sur Lot
The subprefecture Villeneuve sur Lot sur Lot

 

Siri – Explain to me the Geography of the Lot et Garonne

OK Jennifer I am searching……

Lot-et-Garonne is part of the current region of Nouvelle Aquitaine  and is surrounded by other  departments called The Lot, and Tarnet Garonne, also Gers, Landes, Gironde and the Dordogne  .

The north of the department is composed of limestone hills. Between Lot et Garonne, there is a plateau carved by many valleys. In the west of the department, the Landes Forest is planted in sand.

This are is covered in trees called Maritime Pines.

Landes Forest Maritime Pine
Landes Forest Maritime Pine

Thank you Siri. Close the conversation for now. Goodbye Jennifer.

 

Wine Tasting South West, France Lot et Garonne

Les Vignerons De Buzet

WINE TASTING – BUZET WINES LOT ET GARONNE

Enjoy The Experience Of Virtually Tasting The Buzet Wine Taste The Flavours With Andreas Larsson .

When you order a dish in the restaurant, you like to know with what garnish it is served and what the sauce is made of. When you book accommodation for a getaway, you precisely study the location, access … in short you do not leave anything to chance. You do not like being disappointed you wont be either with your accommodation here at Gone Fishin in the sunny Lot et Garonne.

Rozet by Buzet , rosé wine.

This cooperative at Buzet has conquered the exclusively feminine jury of the Féminalise 2018 : it wins the Gold, among wines from around the world  !

Rozet de Buzet
Rozet de Buzet an award winner

A nice success for this fruity and gourmet rosé wine, flagship of Buzet cooperative, ( only 15 mins from your holiday hole here at Gone Fishin Aiguillon in the sunny Lot et Garonne ) . They have committed themselves for more than 10 years in the viticulture way reconciling the best of technology, respect for all and the environment!

Especially since in addition to competing wines from all continents, the jury (all female) contest is composed of more than 600 women – exclusively – professionals and connoisseurs .

Rozet by Buzet , a rosé wine of quality is the mixture of a subtle selection and a meticulous breeding. Fruity and gourmet, generous and elegant, Rozet by Buzet will be the partner of your refined moments.

Domaine de Michelet .

This is a red wine labeled organic and vegan (no application of animal protein, sometimes used to filter certain wines, replaced by vegetable protein). It is a wine without added sulphites.

Domain de Michelet
Domain de Michelet Fruity & Light
Vintage : 2017

Fruity & Light

Vintage : 2017

T ° C of tasting : 16

No added sulphites

Cabernet Franc

Merlot

The Baron d’Ardeuil.

The flagship red wine of the cooperative, could suit you! Its woody notes and roundness on the palate made it famous.

Baron D'Ardeuil
Baron D’Ardeuil Its woody taste and roundness on the palate made it famous.

The Baron d’Ardeuil claims its share of tradition in its name, which draws its origins in the historical figures of France. It has nevertheless been able to adapt to cross the decades and remains today a classic of our cellar. Do not be mistaken! Tradition does not mean boring!

This red wine has also evolved to cross decades and adapt to current tastes. It is a red wine whose aromas of toast and coffee are preferential for red meats and sauces, but which is very suitable for grilled dishes and even vegetable dishes a little spiced up.

Les Vignerons de Buzet announced recently they have bought les Château de Buzet.

They invisage total renovation so the Chatea can hold events with much wine sampling, seen through the show “La vie de château” presented by Michel Cardoze for TV7 Bordeaux! A piece of Albret history is here!