Pathways mean of course walkers but also the many heritage buildings dotted along the way which provided the infrastructure for the pilgrims including churches, hospitals, bridges and much more.
In 1998, the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France became a UNESCO World Heritage Site of outstanding universal value featuring 7 sections of the route and 71 individual sites nationwide. The pilgrim way in Tarn-et-Garonne is the Via Podiensis which starts in Puy en Velay and is the most popular route to Santiago de Compostela today. It goes through the villages of Sainte-Juliette, Lauzerte, Durfort-Lacapelette, Moissac, Boudou, Malause, Pommevic, Espalais, Auvillar and Bardigues. There is also a variation which follows the ‘voie verte’ (traffic-free greenway) beside the Canal des Deux Mers and passes close to the outdoor leisure activity centre at Saint Nicolas de la Grave. Moissac is a major stopover on the route in south-west France due to its wonderful heritage buildings, railway station and amenities. It is 24km south of Lauzerte and 21km east of Auvillar.
The Canal des Deux-Mers and its Vélo Voie Verte Cycle Route
The plan to link the Mediterranean and the Atlantic in order to improve trade routes in the South of France goes back a long way ! The Canal de Garonne (Toulouse – Bordeaux) was built in the 19th century as the prolongation of the Canal du Midi (Toulouse-Sète) constructed by Pierre-Paul Riquet in the 17th century. It opened in 1845 passing through Moissac which has several interesting features : the Pont Canal du Cacor, a navigable aqueduct, and the Pont Tournant St Jacques, a swing bridge in the town centre. With its 15 arches of Toulouse brick and Quercy stone the emblematic 356 metre long aqueduct is one of the 3 largest navigable aqueducts in France.
Freight transport never really flourished, but waterway tourism and the conversion of the towpath to a cycle path have given the canal a new lease of life. It is now even possible to live on the Canal de Garonne all year round !
The Moissac Chasselas grape AOP (PDO) is registered in the National Inventory for Intangible Cultural Heritage. This delicious golden grape is a unique product which thrives in the soil and semi-oceanic climate of Moissac. It is an internationally-renowned fruit produced using age-old skills.
An important tourist destination, Moissac is also the birthplace of many literary figures and poets including Camille Delthil (1834-1902), Louis Allanche (1868-1943), Louis Gardes (1874 – 1943) and many others. Moissac was also the homeland of the famous illustrator and graphic artist Firmin Bouisset (1859-1925), who immortalised numerous brand names with his many advertising posters for products like Meunier chocolate, LU biscuits, Leroux chicory, JOB cigarette papers, Maggi stock cubes, and many more.
What to do around Moissac : walking, horse riding, water sports at Saint Nicolas de la Grave, bird reserve, art and craft workshops.
How to get to Moissac
By road :
Autoroute A62 via Bordeaux
By bus : to Moissac
By rail : to Moissac
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