Agen’s “Grand Pruneau Show”

Grand Pruneau Show - Agen
Grand Pruneau Show – Agen

“Pruneau d’Agen” – the dried plum of Agen – is the product that puts the town of Agen, in the Lot-et-Garonne department of the southwest France, on the map!
It is obtained from a specific variety of plums, called Prune d’Ente, dried for 24 hours in a special oven at a temperature between 70 and 80 °C.
The plum tree came to France during the Roman occupation of Gaul (it came to the Roman Empire from China via the Silk Road) during the first centuries AD. In the 12th century one Arnaud, abbot of the Clairac Benedictine abbey near Agen, brought a new variety of plums at his return from a crusade in the Holy Land. The monks of the abbey grafted the new variety on the old Roman trees and obtained the “d’Ente” plum that became the “plum of Agen”.
Throughout the centuries the dried plum of Agen achieved such a reputation that it became the chief export item of the region; in 1893, 73,000 tones of dried plums were exported to New York only!
Half timbered houses of Agen
Half timbered houses of Agen

In 1944 just after the liberation of Lot-et-Garonne during the Second World War the Liberation Comity, declaring the dried prune of Agen one of the best and most renowned products of the region, issued a call to all plum farmers transform all their harvest in dried plums. Farmers caught selling fresh plums were to be punished by prison!
Each year, at the end of August, Agen celebrates its most famous fruit with a festival called “Grand Pruneau Show”. This free event features street music and theatre, sport competitions, gastronomic workshops centered on the plum, and the mandatory dried plum tasting, all taking place in the center of Agen!
Handing out of dried prunes for tasting
Handing out of dried prunes for tasting

The mascot of Grand Pruneau Show
The mascot of Grand Pruneau Show

Boulevard du Pruneau d'Agen
Boulevard du Pruneau d’Agen

Music on the streets of Agen
Music on the streets of Agen (they look hard rock but play soft music!)

Enjoying the festival from one of the many café of Agen
Enjoying the festival from one of the many café of Agen

Enjoying the festival on one of the many café of Agen
The dried plum is used to make jam and spirits

Street play about the history of the dried plum
Street play about the history of the dried plum
Street play about the history of the dried plum
Street play about the history of the dried plum

Street play about the history of the dried plum
Street play about the history of the dried plum
Street Circus
Street Circus
Street Music at Grand Pruneau Show
Street Music at Grand Pruneau Show
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