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Aquitaine / Lot-et-Garonne / Fumel

Fumel is a commune in the Lot et Garonne Department of south-west France. Sited on the River Lot, the town is 43 kms from the department capital, Agen. The area around Fumel consists of a lush rural landscape of rolling hills, orchards and picturesque villages. Its climate is warm and temperate with July being the month of lowest rainfall.

Fumel can be easily accessed by the motorway network and is approximately 9 hours drive from the Channel ports. Bergerac airport is about an hour away and the railway station at the nearby small town of Monsempron-Libos only 3 kms away provides access to Paris (5 hours) and several other French cities.

Fumel is not the most historical of French towns but its range of shops can cater for your everyday needs. The local tourist office, located at Place Georges Escand, offers a warm welcome to visitors and can provide information about the whole Lot-et-Garonne area.

As regards eating out, Fumel is not without its share of good restaurants: La Brasserie, 72 Avenue and Le Royalty have received favourable reviews, to name just a few. The town’s market day is Friday, or alternatively head for nearby Monsempron-Libos where the market is held on Thursdays.

There are a number of attractions available to the visitor both in Fumel itself and the surrounding area. Fumel’s most famous landmark is the Chateau de Fumel, situated just a short distance from the town centre. Built originally for defensive purposes during the Hundred Years war, it now houses the mairie or town hall.

The chateau has been extensively rebuilt through the centuries and has been minus its highest towers since the Revolution. However, it has retained the landscaped terraced gardens which offer panoramic views over the valley of the River Lot below.

Also to be recommended is a visit to the Machine de Watt – a gigantic 19th steam blower. This well preserved piece of impressive machinery serves to illustrate something of the town’s industrial heritage,

A novel way to explore the surrounding area is by means of a guided river trip. La Gabarre Fumeloise, which embarks from under the town bridge, will take you on a 15 km trip down river. The knowledgeable guide will provide an informative commentary en route on the mills, locks and varied landscape you will pass through.

For the more adventurous, the river can also be navigated by canoe or kayak which can be hired locally. Or for those who prefer to stay on dry land, try cycling or walking along its steep banks.

Nor do you need to travel far from Fumel to find several other attractions. One of the nearest is in the impressive Chateau de Bonaguil which is less than 6kms away. Although partially in ruins, the chateau is favoured by a stunning location and provides the venue for a fantastic firework, music and light display. Known as an ‘embrasememt, the event takes place annually on one night during the summer months – and is free!

Further afield you will find a number of other remarkable chateaux to visit, such as the ones at Chambert, Gavaudun and Biron.

As a holiday destination, Fumel offers an excellent base from which to discover this quiet but very beautiful corner of France.

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