The city of Agen lies in the southern department Lot-et-Garonne in the Aquitaine region. The city centre lies on the east bank of the Garonne river close to the Canal de Garonne, approximately halfway between Bordeaux (132 km, 82 mi) and Toulouse (107 km, 66 mi).
Agen features an oceanic climate (Cfb), in the Köppen climate classification. Winters are mild and feature cool to cold temperatures while summers are mild and warm. Rainfall is spread equally throughout the year, however, most sunshine hours are from March–September.
From Occitan Agen (1197), itself from Latin Aginnum (3rd century Itinéraire d'Antonin), from a Celtic root agin- meaning "rock or height".
The town has a higher level of unemployment than the national average. Major employers include the pharmaceutical factory UPSA.
The old centre of town contains a number of medieval buildings.
The twelfth century Agen Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Caprasius, is one of the few large churches in France with a double nave, a regional trait also found in the Church of the Jacobins in nearby Toulouse.
The Saint Hilaire church, dedicated to the theme of the Holy Trinity which the Saint in question did a lot to defend, is notable for its unusual statues in front of the Church – Moses on the right, and St Peter on the left.
The Fine Arts museum, Musée des Beaux Arts contains artefacts, furniture and sculptures from prehistoric times onwards. The art gallery contains several hundred works, including several by Goya, and others by Bonnard and Seurat. The collection also contains a large number of works by artists who lived locally. The museum is made up of twenty or so rooms.
The Canal des Deux Mers, which joins the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, crosses the river Garonne at Agen via the town's famous canal bridge.
The municipal theatre "Théâtre Ducourneau" presents theatre, and occasionally classical concerts. The smaller "Théâtre du jour" has a resident theatre company presenting a variety of recent or older plays (Shakespeare, Becket, as well as lesser known playwrights).
There are two cinemas, one a commercial multiscreened affair, the other an arts cinema run by a voluntary organization. The latter organizes film festivals every year.
Rugby is extremely popular in the town, and the local team, SU Agen, is enthusiastically supported. The town also serves as the base for the Team Lot-et-Garonne cycling team.
The Gare d'Agen connects Agen with Toulouse and Bordeaux as well as Périgueux. It is around an hour from Toulouse and around an hour from Bordeaux. The fast trains to Paris take four hours and ten minutes.
Agen is connected, by the A62 autoroute, to both Toulouse and Bordeaux.
The Agen Airport is serviced by Airlinair service to Paris Orly 6 days a week. It is also used for business and leisure flying.
Agen stands on the voie verte cycle path between the Mediterranean and close to Bordeaux.
Agen is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese that comprises the Département of Lot and Garonne. It is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Bordeaux.
Agen is twinned with: Tuapse, Russia
Llanelli, Wales, United Kingdom
Corpus Christi, United States
As place of birth
Bernard Palissy (c. 1510–1590), potter – according to some accounts, he may have been born in Saintes
Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540–1609), scholar
Pierre Dupuy (1582–1651), scholar
Joseph Barsalou (1600–1660), physician
Godefroi, Comte d'Estrades (1607–1686), diplomatist and marshal
Bernard Germain Étienne comte de La Ville-sur-Illon La Cépède (1756–1825), naturalist
Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent (1780–1846), naturalist
Jacques Jasmin (1798–1864), Provençal poet
Victor Rabu (1834–1907), architect who built many important churches in Montevideo, Uruguay
Joseph Chaumié (1849–1919), politician
William Grover-Williams (1903–1945) racer and SOE agent
Michel Serres (born 1930), philosopher and author
Jacques Sadoul (born 1934), author
Jean Cruguet (born 1939), jockey who won the U.S. Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Alain Aspect (born 1947), physicist
Francis Cabrel (born 1953), singer-songwriter and guitarist
Bernard Campan (born 1958), actor and film director
Stéphane Rideau (born 1976), actor
Aymeric Laporte (born 1994), footballer
Nostradamus lived in Agen from 1531 until at least 1534. He was married to a local woman with whom he had two children.
Agen is the "capital of the prune", a local produce sold as a sweet (stuffed with prune purée) or as an after-dinner delight (prunes soaked in Armagnac – a type of brandy). Every September, the Prune festival organizes rock concerts, circuses and prune tasting.
The first Jews settled in the town in the twelfth century AD. They were expelled from the town in 1306. A number of Jews returned to the town in 1315, and a "Rue des Juifs" is documented ever since this period. In 1968, about 600 Jews lived in the town, though most of them emigrated to the town from North Africa. A Jewish synagogue still exists in the town.