Monday, March 25, 2013

Auvillar and Agen

On Sunday morning we went to the small weekly outdoor market in Auvillar, which takes place in the old grain hall.  There were several vendors of local products, as well as a butcher truck, a cheesemonger and several vegetable stands.  One woman had brought ducks and poultry from her farm, and we picked up a whole pintade (guinea hen), which we roasted for dinner that night.  There was also a woman selling croustades, a type of apple tart which we first had last year in the Gers, and we bought several slices.  We also picked up a number of raw milk goat cheeses from a nearby farm.

The weather had turned warmer and sunnier, and we were able to sit outside on our patio for lunch, which was the first time we were able to have an outdoor meal at one of our gites on this trip.  To celebrate the warm weather we had our first bottle of 2012 rose, a Cote de Provence that we had picked up in Saint Jean Pied de Port.

That afternoon we took a drive to Agen, a good-sized city on the Tarn River.  The fact that it was Sunday and everything was closed made it easy to navigate the city and park in the center.  There was a magnificent church in the center of town, another across the river, and a number of beautiful old half-timbered and stone buildings.

In the late afternoon we visited the faience museum in Auvillar and then took a walk to the bottom of the town towards the Garonne River.  Auvillar was a center of hand-made faience pottery from the 1700's until mass produced porcelain from cities like Limoges killed off the industry; the last faience producer in Auvillar closed up shop in 1905.
Heading downhill in Auvillar towards the Garonne