If you polled Britons about the different parts of France they had heard of, they would cite Normandy, Brittany and Dordogne – but Lot-et-Garonne? No chance.
That’s their loss. This département in the Aquitaine region of south-west France is well regarded – its sunny climate and undulating hills have drawn comparison with those of Tuscany.
I arrived here yesterday, and am back staying in the bastide town of Castillonnès, just a few kilometres from the border with Dordogne.
As the département’s name suggests, the Garonne and its tributary, the Lot, are the two main rivers here. When you factor in the Baïse too, you have more than 200km of navigable waterways.
Lot-et-Garonne is a distinctly rural département – a vast orchard in south-west France, if you like. Prunes and tomatoes are two of its main exports. The prunes come from the area surrounding the capital, Agen, in the south of the department, while the tomatoes are grown in the area around Marmande, in the west.
The two towns are the largest in the département. There are a couple of the country’s most beautiful villages – les plus beaux villages de France – here too, in the form of Monflanquin and Pujols-le-Haut.
“Lot-et-Garonne is a distinctly rural département – a vast orchard in south-west France, if you like”
What is perhaps surprising for Britons looking to relocate to France is the cost of homes here. The average house price in the département is €125,000, against €120,000 in better-known Dordogne.
Want to know its secret? Watch this space.