Towns, Villages and Bastides in South West France
Whilst you are on holiday in South West France, you may like to explore some of the local towns and cities. Read below our guide to towns in South West France.
Moissac, with lively weekend markets, is of great architectural interest having a Romanesque abbey and cloisters,
Agen has a fascinating old quarter and has developed into a sprawling town with a large edge of town shopping store area.
Valence d’Agen is a pretty town with a lovely square with fountains. Originally a 1283 bastide it has a good range of shops & restaurants. Golf course in the area – Click here
Cahors was a flourishing commercial university city in the middle ages and is, of course, world famous for its dark red full bodied wine. The old town around the Cathedral has a large attractive market, shops and typical French street cafes and restaurants. It is the County town of the Lot department and is contained by a large U bend of the river. There is a notable landmark of 14 century bridge, the Pont de Valentre.
Bordeaux, a beautiful City with excellent shopping, is the regional capital on the left bank of the River Garonne near the Atlantic coast. Around the City the landscape is dominated by its world famous vineyards. Nearby is Archachon (a summer beach resort), where there are many wonderful sandy beaches and the extraordinary high seaside dunes.
Toulouse, the so called Pink City after its unusual reddish stone buildings, is both the regional capital and the centre of the aerospace industry in France. It is a lively cosmopolitan city, rich in art and architecture with a fine old quarter and an ancient university – a vibrant university city with excellent shopping, market, opera, cafes and restaurants.
Other Villages and Bastides
Villeneuve-sur-Lot on the banks of the Lot river and founded in 1264, it still has many small streets and half-timbered buildings in the shopping pedestrian area and market square. Golf course to the north near Cancon.
Monflanquin was founded in 1256. It has a most attractive centre with archades and several restaurants to choose from. Good events and entertainment.
Villereal is a small town with a lovely covered market, shops and restaurants.
Issigeac is another most attractive village with old houses, narrow streets, excellent market and cafes. On the road to Bergerac airport.
Bergerac is on the banks of the Dordogne with excellent restaurants.
Monpazier is a small Bastide village with a lovely arcaded market square with shops and cafes. Nearby is the magnificent Chateau at Biron and the prehistoric caves (including the ‘Sistene Chapel’ of painted caves) and the troglodyte habitations.
St. Cirq La Popie, said by many to be the prettiest villages in France, is along the Lot river from Cahors. This beautiful village stands precariously to the side of a gorge 330ft above the Lot river. Shops and wonderful views and is close to the exciting caves of Pech Merle. A must for sight seeing tourists.
Sarlat, on the Dordogne river, is a beautiful but very popular tourist town. It can be extremely busy at times.
Fumel, on the banks of the Lot river, has developed into a more commercial town with good shops and supermarkets. Nearby is the fascinating Chateau at Bonaguil, which is one of the finest examples of 15 th Century architecture. There are concerts, restaurant and a cafe.
Tournon d’Agenais is a pretty Royal bastide village from 1271 and on the route of St Jaques de Compostella with a lovely square and belfry tower superb views, restaurants, Alimentation, Butcher and Boulanger. Friday evening market in the summer.
Penne d’Agenais is a most attractive hillside restored village with lovely views over the Lot river. It has several cafes and restaurants. Interesting tourist village. It used to have a castle built by Richard Coeur de Lion and has an interesting basilica.
Roquecor is a small hilltop village with an excellent bar/restaurant and Sunday morning market.
Beauville has two parts, a tree filled typically French square popular for boules and an arcaded area with shops and two cafes. Nearby is a leisure lake and restaurant.
St. Maurin is a quiet half timbered village which includes the ruins of a 1097 abbey with a small shop and restaurant.
Laroque Timbaut is a sleepy town towards Agen with shops and restaurant.
Puymirol is a small Bastide being the home of the Michelin star restaurant, Aubergade.
Castelsagrat is a pretty but quiet market Bastide with an attractive central square.
Bourg-de-Visa is a small local village with restaurant, small supermarket, bank and Boulangerie.
Montaigu-de-Quercy is a good village for local shops and a small supermarket. There is a typical local market each Saturday and a large leisure lake nearby.
Lauzerte is a hilltop Bastide with an attractive central square. There are regular events and good restaurants.
Montcuq is a popular lively village with a popular Sunday morning market, restaurants leisure lake and local shops.
Prayssac is north of the Lot river an has a pretty village square with a good range of shops, restaurants. It has an excellent Friday market in the square and around the church and it has a cinema.
Puy l’Eveque is on the banks of the Lot river with good shops and restaurants.
Catus Once the site of a 10c prior and with a 12c Chapter house, it has an excellent leisure lake and a small range of shops.
Cazals is north of Fumel on the road to Gourdon. Excellent market and shops.
Cancon is a charming fortified historic town with a magnificent history.
Castelnau Montratier, about 30 minutes from Cahors, is a picturesque large village commanding a dominating position on a hill. It has a market and excellent local services.
Dausse is an idyllic small village which is home to one of the area’s more notable excellent restaurants.
Eymet is a bastide along the Dordogne river, not far from Bergerac, which was the scene of the ‘Little England’ TV series.
Touffailles is a small, well-placed village in a very rural part of Tarn-et-Garonne. Perfect for a quiet, relaxing rural French holiday.
Gourdon is a thriving town with good shopping and eating.
Montauban is the Prefecture town of the Tarn-et-Garonne, founded in 1144, and has a Cathedral and the prestigious Ingres art museum.
St Antonin-Noble-Val was once a Cathar stronghold. This charming village has a good choice of restaurants, shops and is close to the stunning Aveyron Gorges.
Albi lies above the Tarn Valley, dominated by its great red brick cathedral. It is the birthplace of the painter Toulouse-Lautrec and the museum there houses many of his works. About 24 km NW of Albi, is Cordes, a walled mediaeval town with 13th and 14th century Gothic buildings and a market hall with a fine timber roof.
Auch is the former capital of Gascony, and is in the heart of the Armagnac region high above the River Gers approached by narrow roads and long flights of stone steps. It has a Cathedral.
Bayonne is a Mediaeval Cathedral City
Biarritz was renowned as a Victorian holiday resort and for its surfing Atlantic rollers
St Jean de Luz, largely a pedestrian seaside town and port, has many cafes and restaurants as is close to the Spanish border.