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/

France 2019. How Much For A Taxi – Stamps – Whats New In French Currency

French Taxis Cost 2019

France 2019. How Much For A Taxi – Stamps – Whats New In French Currency.

Taxis: New Fares for 2019

Taxis In France 2019 prices
Taxis In France 2019 prices

What you need to know when booking a taxi in France.

 What is the minimum price you will be charged? 

What is the price to go to an airport?

 Taxi fares for 2019 are set by official decree in December 2018.

In 2019, the minimum fare for a journey is set at € 7.10 for all taxis (Parisians and non-Parisians).

In addition, taxi fares are capped at:

  • € 4.10 
  • 1,10 € for the kilometer traveled
  • 36,73 € for the hourly price concerning the waiting period when reserved by the customer).

For Parisian taxis, booking supplements are, as in 2018, to:

  • 4 € in case of immediate reservation;
  • 7 € if booking in advance. 

    Moreover, for all races of Parisian taxis, only extra ” passenger ” of 4 € may be applied from a 5 th person carried.

    There is a flat rates set for the Paris taxis between Paris and the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports (in both directions) remain unchanged compared to those in 2018: 

    • € 50 between Paris – Charles-de-Gaulle airport and Paris rive droite;
    • 55 € between Paris – Charles-de-Gaulle airport and Paris rive gauche;
    • 35 € between Paris-Orly airport and Paris rive droite;
    • 30 € between Paris-Orly airport and Paris left bank.

    There are also flat rates for shopping related to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport:

    • 32 € between Nice airport and Nice-center.
    • € 80 between Nice airport and Cannes;
    • 90 € between Nice airport and Monaco;

    Finally, for travelling for example to Toulouse Blagnac airport, these flat rates vary between € 15 and € 45 (depending on the area of the city). Please check on booking.

    How Much For Stamps In France 2019

    French Stamp New Prices For 2019
    French Stamps New Prices For 2019

     Stamp price: new increase on January 1, 2019

  • Priority letter (red stamp) or green letter (green stamp):

    Rates for stamps for individuals increased by an average of about 10% from 1 st  January 2019.

    This is indicated by a statement of the Regulatory authority for electronic communications and postal services (Arcep) on 2019 universal postal service tariffs.

    For individuals, the price of green stamp (distributed within 48 hours in France) will increase from 0.80 €  to  0.88 € , the red stamp (priority mail delivered within 24 hours in France) will now be priced at 1.05 € (against 0.95 € today).

    The ” Ecopli ,” the most economical way (sending in 4 days on average), will go from 0.78 €  to 0.86 € .

    For parcel post called Colissimo, the public rate Colissimo France metropolitan less 

    than 250 grams will remain at the same price as in 2018 ( 4.95 € ).

    Whats New In French Currency 2019

  • French New Currency For 2019
    French New Currency For 2019

    New Currency Notes of 100 and 200 Euros Arriving May 2019

  • The new € 100 and € 200 notes  are due to enter the euro zone from May 28, 2019, as part of the gradual renewal of the European currency denominations. They were presented by the European Central Bank (ECB) on 17 September 2018.

    These new notes are part of a series called ” Europe ” because two of the security signs used include a portrait of Princess Europe, a character of Greek mythology that gave its name to the continent. Tickets of 5 € , 10 € , 20 € and 50 € are already part of this series.

    The security markings in this series are perfected to allow better protection against counterfeiting. These new notes will be easier to verify the authenticity through feel, scrutinising  and tilting to the light .

  • The new € 100 note retains green as the dominant colour while taking inspiration from the Baroque and Rococo architectural style.

  • The New 100 Euro Note in circulation in May 2019
    The New 100 Euro Note in circulation in May 2019

    The new note 200 € shows secure gates , the yellow colour and the glass and steel architectural style of the XIX th  century.

  • The New 200 Euro Note in circulation May 2019
    The New 200 Euro Note in circulation May 2019

    These two new notes will have the same height as the € 50 note, but they will have the same length as the €100and 

  • €200 notes currently in circulation (the longer the note, the higher their face value).

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.

 

A Christmassy feeling in Bordeaux

Bordeaux church

Christmas is underway in Bordeaux with roasted chestnuts and mulled wine or oysters and white wine being offered freely to many shoppers.

Why not visit a Christmas  Circus or a visit to the extravagantly  decorated Castles.

Shopping in Bordeaux
A shopping frenzy starting for Christmas in Bordeaux

Even the  Museums and the street artists are feeling Christmassy.

 It’s a wonderful time in Bordeaux … With all the flavours The Bordeaux Tourist has organised with the Chamber of Commerce for the first weekend of December.

Bordeaux celebrations
Bordeaux enjoys celebrating all year round

But whatever your choice, you will not escape the magic of Christmas in the cities be it Bordeaux or Agen or Villeneuve sur Lot.

A reminder Bordeaux is a fabulous wine growing region, and it is a port city of the Garonne river in South West France .

Also well-known for this Gothic cathedral Saint Andre .

There are beautiful mansions 18 to 19th century and notable art museums for example The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.

The dynamic curving river quays have the beautiful public gardens running alongside.

The grand Place de la Bourse, centred on the Three Graces Fountain, over looks the famous Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool.

A must is the Grande Opera House ….Christmas spectacular at the Opera de Versailles, le Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux

Opera House
Christmas spectacular at the Opera de Versailles, le Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux

A place not to be me missed especially at Christmas time is Known as Paul’s Place in Bordeaux    https://www.paulsplacebordeaux.com/

A small restaurant in the heart of Bordeaux offering Home cooking exceptional…for the evenings.

People converge to Paul’s Place not only for the great cooking, enchanting decor, Live music, poetry readings , table Magic, exhibitions but drama and cultural gatherings.

When you enter Paul’s place you will see the walls and ceilings are richly covered with images and artefacts.

A treasure box of delights.

Pauls Place Bordeaux
Pauls Place Bordeaux

Whatever the occasion it’s the place to go be it just for a drink, a meal or listen to the live music.

A taste of music whats on this next week..

https://soundcloud.com/user-754533394/medley?fbclid=IwAR33NuIaG6iSFrebXttUegnLpq8ghbK254B0MoN3nqeP0Pdt0C3a9cjN_ec

We are certainly off to enjoy the Christmas feel in Bordeaux next week.

So easy from Gone Fishin here in the sunny Lot et Garonne. We just take an 8 minute drive to Aiguillon station, catch the train to Bordeaux and within 1hr 10 minutes can be enjoying the Christmas spirit in the wonderful town of Bordeaux.

The Best Spot For A Selfie in Nouvelle Aquitaine

Grand Dune du Pilat

Where is the best spot to take a selfie you might ask yourself whilst on holiday here at Gone Fishin Aiguillon just 1hr from Bordeaux.

Perhaps we could suggest a good selfie would be your catch of the day around our carp lake if you were a fisherman.

But To be honest our guests love a day out down at Arcachon close to the bustling city of Bordeaux.

Go climbing the Grande  Dune du Pilat, this is the tallest sand dune in Europe.

Arcachon Pine Forest
Arcachon pine forest showing being slowly swallowed up by the Grand Dune du Pilat

Located in La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay area just 60km from Bordeaux.

So, should you make to the top of the largest sand dune in Europe it would surely be  be the best and unique place to take that  selfie.

….

Steps to the Grande  Dune du Pilat
A choice either take the steps or hike… one way or another

This sand dune is enormous measuring 500 meter in width , 3 km in length and rising to a height of 107 meter above sea level.

The formation and movement has slowly caused the dune to slowly migrate away from the coast, engulfing the trees of an inland pine forest .

After ( to recover) you might enjoy a visit into Arcachon itself, enjoy the famous casino and many restaurants. A truly beautiful replace, at this very popular weekend retreat for many especially the people of Bordeaux City.

Arcachon is associated with a place of health and in recovery. The fresh sea air of Arcachon is said to recuperate various ailments.

Across the bay is Cape de Ferret, a popular with many famous celebrities, many of whom have holiday homes in this chic seaside resort. The lovely town is divided into 5 sections namely, the summer town, autumn town, winter town, spring town and a beach resort.

Casino d’Arcachon, Arcachon….

Arcachon Casino
An evening at the Casino in Arcachon

 

The casino was originally a chateau  – The Chateau Deganne and in 1904 was converted into the casino .

In the early part of 20th-century Paris and Bordeaux bourgeoisie came spend the summer in Arcachon , so the town was obliged to create a distraction in the form of a casino .

The Casino includes several banquet style halls that are available for hire  for special events

The Best Cycle Route in South West France

Cycle route close to Gone Fishin Aiguillon

Enjoying the cycle paths down the canal just 15 minutes away from your holiday home here at Gone Fishin’ Aiguillon. If you want to hire bicycles they can be brought to your door .

The Canals cycle route continues along the greenway beside the Canal de Garonne, passing through the very lively port of Buzet-sur-Baïse. You reach Agen itself via one of the longest canal-bridges in France, at 600m. The town is both capital of the département (French county) of Lot-et-Garonne and French capital of prunes… and it conceals many other curiosities, which you can discover in the remarkable monuments in the historic centre.

Agens famous long bridge
One of the longest canal bridges in France more than 600m

Explore Agen with its winding medieval streets and elegant boulevards, discover history going back 2,000 years, via St Caprais Cathedral, Rue des Cornières, the Musée des Beaux Arts (its art collections occupying four Renaissance houses) and Les Jacobins Church… not forgetting the splendid canal-bridge over the Garonne – with four locks and 23 stone arches, it’s the second-longest canal-bridge in France, after that over the Loire at Briare.

A Great Place For Snorkelling in South West France

Arcachon bay is the bay of Atlantic Ocean on the southwest coast of France. The main diving area for Bordeaux divers is the Arcachon bay. It is a lagoon of 250 square km. The Arcachon Bay is the biggest sand dune in Europe. Much more here courtesy https://www.easybordeaux.com/scuba-and-snorkeling/

DIVE SITES IN ARCACHON BAY

The two main dive sites are Hortense and Saint Yves, but many other places are also interesting to spend time with sports. Advanced divers will dive out of the Arcachon bay on several wrecks, such as Le Chariot.

SCUBA AND SNORKELLING

Scuba diving is an adventure open to anyone aged 12 or above. At the bottom of the dune, you can find a number of cafes and memorial shops. With the right training and support, you could be very soon enjoying your own scuba diving adventure!

The Colourful Carnival in South West France

Monflanquin Festival

Monflanquin Medieval  Festival The French equivalent to a spectacular carnival. People come from all over France and often the French stop for a long weekend to soak the atmosphere. Monflanquin, is a bastide in the north of the Lot-et-Garonne department of the southwest of France.

Built in 1256 as a military bastidetown on a strategic north-south route, it changed hands several times during the Hundred Years’ War.

The Festival start by animating this story…The story opens up to a medieval jester dressed in white and red, his shoes have curled-up toes and he is leaning on a twisted cane. He is surrounded by many children, laughing and listening as he explains the history of his Aquitaine village, Monflanquin. He is Janouille la Fripouille (the Scoundrel Janouille), bastard son of Henry of Navarre – who became Henri IV of France in 1589 – and the alter ego of street performer Jean Rocher.

Monflanquin festival
Monflanquin festival  (spoilt by Stella Artois!!)

 

Monflanquin Medieval entertainment
Spellbound children

“One day in 1252, Alphonse de Poitiers came riding out from his castle home near what became Villeneuve-sur-Lot with his wife, Jeanne, daughter of Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse she with her dowry of the lands of Rouerque, Quercy and Agenais.

Read moreThe Colourful Carnival in South West France