Visit of the medieval village of Penne d'Agenais and its sanctuary

Penne-d'Agenais
Share Visit of the medieval village of Penne d'Agenais and its sanctuary
Visit of the medieval ...

On the banks of the Lot river, Penne d'Agenais is a steep medieval village full of charm, to be visited all year round. Stroll through its steep alleys, which sometimes give off a little scent of the south... You will come across many workshops and artisan shops, on a stroll that will take you with the strength of your calves, to one of the of the most beautiful panoramas of the region over the Lot Valley.


Photos of the article © Guide du Lot-et-Garonne


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Penne d'Agenais, a prosperity that dates back to medieval times

One wonders if the name of Penne d'Agenais would come from a (pointed) menhir located in Gallo-Roman times on the heights of the hill or quite simply in the shape of this one, which evokes the word Penn of Celtic " mountain ridge ". Anyway, if Penne d'Agenais has a small port on the banks of the Lot, it is towards the heavens that you will have to set off, if you want to discover the quintessence... Installed at 200 meters above sea level, the city benefits from an exceptional and quite strategic point of view, because there is no less than 60 km around.


Penne d'Agenais
Penne d'Agenais is visible from afar, its shiny domes too


La Ferme de Lacaÿ offers boat trips departing from the Harbor Master's office on the banks of the Lot, 5 minutes from Penne d'Agenais. 1 hour, half a day or the whole day to admire the Lot-et-Garonne from the waves. If you like boat trips, read our article on the most beautiful boat trips in Lot-et-Garonne.

The banks of the Lot
The banks of the Lot are suitable for navigation

There is mention of the Castle of Penne d'Agen, owned by Arnaud Peyragude, from the 11th century. It was Richard the Lionheart, Duke of Guyenne, who initiated the development of Penne d'Agenais by fortifying the castle, which has now practically disappeared, which he covets for its tactical positioning in height. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the village is built around it wraps from picturesque cobblestone streets and today very flowery. The religious wars which affect the region do not fail to destabilize the Pennois, the city is besieged in 1212 during the Albigensian War, it is said that its inhabitants held 50 days of siege before giving in. Penne d'Agen remains thereafter up a powerful military and war, up to his castle was destroyed between 16 th and 17 th century. The small city then continues its path but suffered depopulation of rural characteristic resorts in the mid 20th century. It is thanks to the will of its passionate inhabitants, that it awakens again in 1980: major works lead to the renovation of the facades, we will remove the ugly plaster to see reappear all the medieval charm that is very present. Penne d'Agenais seduces the artists and craftsmen who settle there and confirm the now tourist vocation of this place, which we invite you to discover in pictures.


Organize your stay in the Lot Valley, read our article "2 days in the Lot Valley" to get ideas for walks and visit itineraries.


Panoramic view from Penne d'Agenais
The reward, a splendid view awaits you at the top of Penne d'Agenais

Walk in Penne d'Agenais

Penne d'Agenais is located just 40 minutes from Agen and Marmande to the east of Lot-et-Garonne. To discover it at your own pace, we advise you to bring a discovery plan, which you can find at the Tourist Office, but also in consultation and download (fr). The charming assets of this small town are numerous, starting with the medieval houses renovated and carefully maintained by their owners.


The City Gate
The Porte de la Ville, one of the 3 gateways to Penne d'Agenais

Park your car and pass the Porte de la Ville, the first of the 3 entry and access control gates to the old center. It is because it attracted envy, because of its geographical position but also its wealth, that the town of Penne d'Agenais was fortified. The inhabitants of the houses of the villages which surround the enclosure were forced to barricade doors and windows to protect themselves from attackers. Immediately after entering the city, on your right are the offices of the Pays, Histoire et Patrimoine association, which offers quality books on the region. Take a detour through the pretty Aliénor d'Aquitaine square as an extension. The visit continues with the Place du Mercadiel (market), which we can imagine alive with the stalls of traders, there is a small cafe where to stop to enjoy the medieval atmosphere of the whole. Below the square is the Mercadiel church which, as you will notice, is not located in the center of the current village but in the shopping district, it adjoins the city walls and the entrance is also from the square outside the city.


Do you like climbing? So surely you also like hiking? Visit our article to find the best hiking routes in Lot-et-Garonne.


Entrance to the village of Penne d'Agenais
Entrance to the village with cobbled streets
Place Aliénor d'Aquitaine  Place Aliénor d'Aquitaine
Place Aliénor d'Aquitaine
Penne d'Agenais balconies

Go back to the Town Hall, climb to the heights of the city, you will come across beautiful squares and charming village houses, served by small alleys. The whole has an air of little Tuscany, in summer you could imagine yourself in the south of France! You reach the second city gate, the Porte de Richard and a sign reminds us that Penne d'Agenais is located on a road to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle which follows the route of the GR652, which then continues in the Gers.


Place de Penne d'Agenais
The square in front of the Town Hall
Penne d'Agenais prison  Penne d'Agenais prison
Prison, which is a bit cold in the back!
Cat  cat
We visit under the benevolent or curious gaze of the inhabitants
Penne d'Agenais
Looks like the south?

Here you are at the top of the city, we will now go along the old ramparts (the street of the ditches), it is the opportunity to admire the roofs of the city and to take advantage of the view which begins to be revealed on the Lot-et-Garonne countryside. We catch a glimpse of the shiny silver domes of the church of Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude!


Roofs of Penne d'Agenais
Admire the roofs of Penne d'Agenais while walking in the Rue des Fossés
Our Lady of Peyragude
Arrival at Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude

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Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude, a sanctuary, a legend

The remains of the Cathedral date back to the year 1000, there was a small chapel here dedicated to the cult of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. It was destroyed by the Protestants and a pretty legend then tells us that a little hungry shepherdess met a Lady while grazing her sheep, who asked her the reason for her pain. The child explained to him the poverty of his family and the hunger, common to all the inhabitants. The Lady then asked her to go home to find there the promise of a beautiful loaf of bread, the child returned to share it with this Lady, who left her in thanks a statuette of the Virgin and Child. The shepherdess understood then that she had just attended an apparition of the Virgin Mary! 100 years later, the Plague having spared the city, the Magistrates organize the reconstruction of the chapel. At the end of the 19 th century, it was decided to build the Roman-Byzantine-style Cathedral here, which can be admired today. Its construction lasted 50 years. On the square, there is a mosaic dedicated to the Virgin, go through the door to admire the interior of the church. The main nave is spacious and extends in height to the dome decorated with paintings. Admire the stained glass windows but also the Stations of the Cross painted in 1949.


Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude
Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude
Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude  Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude
Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude
Inside Notre-Dame-de-Peyragude

In front of the church, you will enjoy a very pleasant first view of the countryside, but it is on the other side that the spectacle is admirable: the Lot Valley is revealed first among the trees... Continue walking in bypassing the church on the left to reach the metal platform which offers you a splendid panorama of more than 180 degrees! Adventurers can continue to climb to the highest point of Penne d'Agenais, there are the ruins of the famous Castle of Richard the Lionheart, quite precarious (and therefore dangerous). On the way down, stop in the caves, which were the refuge of hermits " a long time ago ", you will see the statuette of the legend there!


View of the Lot Valley
View of the Lot Valley
The caves
Walk towards the caves
View of the Lot Valley  View of the Lot Valley
View of the Lot Valley, from the platform

Now go back down to the bottom of the city, do not hesitate to stop to savor the weather on the terrace of one of the cafes or restaurants in Penne d'Agenais. We hope the ride was enjoyable! You can continue a little further by visiting other charming villages such as Tournon d'Agenais or Pujols.


The caves  The caves
The caves and the statuette of the Virgin and Child
Penne d'Agenais

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