The village of Auvillar Tarn et Garonne
One of the most beautiful villages in France
History & beauty
Auvillar has been voted one of the “most beautiful villages in France” with its harbour area on The Garonne river and outstanding monuments like the circular hall, the clock tower and the Church of St. Pierre.
Auvillar is a stop for tourists and pilgrims on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route and a great spot to spend time touring in the region.
The most unique features of this village is the circular halle au Grains, where grain was once sold, which is unique in the south west of France, but it is not as old as it may look – it was built in 1830.
The church of Saint Pierre dates back to the 12th century and remains of the fortified walls are clearly visible to the right of the main door.
Auvillar was known for two main industries – the making of quills for writing made from goose feathers and also for pottery.
If you look carefully you will spot some ceramic figures dotted around the village, including a pottery statue of Saint Jacques de Compostelle on one of the buildings – see if you can find it.
The main square radiates out and is surrounded by vaulted, red-brick arcades with narrow streets just waiting to be explored.
There are some great views on to the coutryside and the Garonne river from just near the tourist office.
On the trail of history
As in most French towns and villages, there are clues everywhere that point to the past – just look at the name of the streets to get some idea of the past.
Going from the bottom of the village to the clock tower at the top, you can still imagine how the village was fortified, which it needed to be as it was regulary attacked by the Normans from the north and has been under assault during the 100 Years War, The Wars of religion, The Albigeois Crusades and occupation during The Second World war.
What to see and do
There is a nice café restaurant at the entrance to the village when you arrive from Montauban, complete with pétanque area if you fancy challenging the locals – a nice place to chill out under the shade of the trees before or after exploring the village.
There are some lovely walks in the valley that follows The Garonne River and boats and canoes can be hired to continue your exploration.
Auvillar is pretty much midway between Montauban and Agen, about 45 kilometers from both towns.
There are many places to discover on the way too.
Food & drink
The south west of France has a very rich food culture and the Tarn et Garonne département is well-known for the local delicacies.
Foie gras is made here, and truffles are found in the region, with a huge truffle market around Christmas in Lalbenque.
Goat cheeses are popular here, as too are sheep milk cheeses, in summer melons are an abundant source for refreshing starters and there are lots of fruit growers in the region, known as the garden of France.
As with most French food, the local delicacies are in tune with the seasons and the proximity to The Dordogne, Toulouse, The Aveyron, Bordeaux and The Gers départements make The Tarn et Garonne a great place to sample some delicious dishes made with local products that are cultivated with pride.
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