South West France Holidays – Penne d’Agenais: A Scenic Destination for a Family Holiday
Whether you are enjoying a break as a couple, or with friends and family, this scenic, medieval hilltop town in the region of Aquitaine is a beautiful base for South West France holidays. It lies on the pilgrim route of Le Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, so it is a convenient location for walkers. However, if you prefer a more relaxing holiday, where you can take advantage of the local facilities, the town has many cafés, bars and restaurants serving fine wine and local delights, including pie that this region is so famous for.
If you are looking to rent villas in South West France and are fascinated by bygone years, you won’t be disappointed as the town has an interesting, yet rocky history. People lived in the region of Penne d’Agenais as far back as pre-historic times, and you can find a cave and dolmen not far from the town showing evidence of early settlers. In Roman times it was a fairly prosperous town and thereafter it endured a number of invasions. In the 12th century it was plunged into the spotlight again as Richard the Lion Heart built a powerful fortress at the foot of the town.
In the 13th century Penne d’Agenais was granted a charter giving the town the right to govern itself and it had quite a sizeable community at this point. Between the 13th and 14th century there was a great deal of turbulence as various wars and sieges took place and the rule of the town changed hands several times. There were various bloody battles, and even in 1562 the town and castle were at the centre of a brutal war, during which bodies were thrown into the well of the castle.
Today, Penne d’Agenais still has reminders of its early history in the form of medieval gateways, old merchant houses, narrow meandering streets, the royal prison and two chapels. A 13th century church that once stood in the town was torn down in 1873 and replaced with a newer building.
Cottages in South West France – click here to find more information about our cottages, villas and gites to rent in Penne d’Agenais for your perfect family holiday.
What to do in and around Penne D’Agenais
If you are renting a villa in Penne D’Agenais, South West France and love French food, head to the traditional and gourmet markets in the centre where you can stock up on some delicious local delicacies. History enthusiasts can enjoy pre-arrange guided tours of the town and the town’s museum, which is open every day from April to October, recounts history of the nearby River Lot, including a look back at local trade and insight into past boats that sailed on the river.
Pie is famous in the Agen region and, if you are lucky enough to visit on the second Sunday in July, you will get to sample the Tourtière as it was made originally, with the thin, virtually transparent dough rolled out by hand. If you like to shop, the town has a selection of stores selling crafts including leather goods, knitwear, woodwork and jewellery; any of which make fantastic souvenirs to take back home. You can also find a variety of farms in the region selling great gifts which include wine, chocolate, confectionary, prunes, spirits, foie gras and jam. It is also well worth a visit to the big Prune Factory and shop which sells delicious chocolate and prune sweets.
If you enjoy dining out, Penne d’Agenais has some excellent restaurants which include La Peyragude and, of course Le Bombecul (a name which has the interesting translation of bog bottom!)
Not far from the town is the fascinating fortified village of Frespech (half-way between Agen and Penne d’Agenais) which has castle ruins and a 12th century church. For a small price you can enjoy a guided tour of the village and church. In the same area is the Foie Gras Museum, where you can find out the origins of this delicacy and how it is made.
If you enjoy being active, there are a host of family-friendly sporting activities to enjoy including boating, horse riding, fishing and hiking.
Villas in Penne d’Agenais
Kingfisher Holidays offers a wonderful selection of villas, gites and cottages in the Penne d’Agenais area – just browse our website to find the accommodation to suit you and your party.
If you are looking for a small holiday let, Maison Recluse is a beautiful, two bedroom property which sleeps up to four people. It is just outside the village walls and enjoys spectacular views overlooking wide open countryside and the dome of the Basilica of Notre Dame of Peyragude. The cottage is a five to ten minute walk to Port au Penne which has more restaurants and a supermarket.
On the other hand, if you have a large party, Lalande is a five bedroom property just outside the village of Dausse. It sleeps up to ten and is just 6km from Penne d’Agenais. The property has a large garden with scenic views, a heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, and a games room. The village itself has good facilities including a superb restaurant and a weekly market.
Villas in Penne d’Agenais – click here to find more information about family holiday properties to rent with swimming pools in South West France.