Friday, October 24, 2014

Aiguillon: A tale of deux riviéres

The junction of the Lot and Garonne rivers seems to be a good place to begin a series about special places in my home department of Lot-et-Garonne.

Château Lunac in Aiguillon

Located roughly 30 km from Marmande, Agen, Villeneuve-sur-Lot and Nérac, the village of Aiguillon (pop. 4488) is worth a short visit. We stop here on a whim while on our way to Nérac recently. Unfortunately, the tourist office is closed on this particular Friday morning, so I have no map or guide. Hence, I miss some of the town’s more notable sites. (Attn. les syndicat d’initiatives: Post a village map in your window, SVP).

Musée Raoul Dastrac in Aiguillon
Aiguillon has a rich history dating from Gallo-Roman times. It is strategically positioned not only at the confluence of two rivers, but also at the crossroads of the great Roman roads of Ténarèze and Aginensis Burdigala, which ran between Agen and Bordeaux. The city was an important English stronghold during the Hundred Years Wars. In the 18th century, the Duke of Aiguillon, Emmanuel-Armand de Vignerod, planned a symmetrical city and cleared a large courtyard in front of his château. The French revolution halted construction, but the courtyard, or Esplanade, remains as Aiguillon’s town square.

Place Clemenceau with Parish church of Saint Felix in the
background and the war memorial in the foreground
Historical and cultural sites in Aiguillon include Église Saint-Felix, the Roman tower of Tourasse, la Fontaine des Trois Grâces, musée Raoul Dastrac, and the confluence of the Lot and Garonne just northwest of the town.

Église Saint-Felix in Aiguillon

A detailed history and sites to visit, can be found on the Ville d’Aiguillon website.

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