Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave travel guide

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The town of Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave is situated in the Tarn-et-Garonne department. It is a small town with an unusual brick-built chateau where Richard the Lionheart once stayed.

Explore Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave

In the 12th century the monks of Moissac built a chateau at a strategic point on the left bank of the Garonne river. Gradually a town built up around the chateau that became Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave.

Many of the trditional buildings in the town are built in the pink brick common to the Gascony region and the layout of the streets follows the the grid formation popular at the time.

old buildings in centre of Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave

The Chateau of Richard Coeur de Lion (Castle of Richard the Lionheart) has evolved over the years. Originally quite a simple structure it was one of the sixteen castles conquered by Richard the Lionheart in the latter part of the 12th century.

He ordered a tower to be built at the front of the castles which is now known as the 'Tour des Anglais' or 'Tower of the English' and the other towers and the connecting wings were added soon after.

Because of its redbrick construction it looks more like a grand houses than a castle, and is now home to the town hall of Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave.

Near to the castle is the Place de la Halle, the heart of the town and the main square. At the centre of this square is the metal built market hall built in 1898 to replace the original medieval market hall.

France This Way review: quite a few towns replaced their traditional market halls with large steel structures at this time and that is also the case here, unfortunately, with the 'new' version rather lacking in character compared with the magnificent ancient market halls you can see in many French bastide towns.


Around the edges of the square you can see some very attractive buildings. These large buildings with lots of large windows and lovely wooden shutters were once lived in by the notables of the town. The village Church of Saint-Nicolas is also on the square and was built in the late 17th century with an octagonal belltower.

Also in Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave is a Cadillac Museum, the Musée Lamothe-Cadillac . You might think this is an odd place for a Cadillac museum but in fact Antoine Laumet, later known as Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac (shortened to Antoine de la Mothe-Cadillac) was an explorer and founder of modern day Detroit.

Laumet was considered a local hero (though now it is less sure if he was local hero or villain), and when Detroit became the centre of world automobile construction the founders of the Cadillac company honoured him by naming their company after him.

In 1970 the Historical Society of Detroit gave Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave 20,000 dollars to buy the house in which Lamothe-Cadillac was born and turn it into a museum. Inside the museum there are exhibits relating to the life of Lamothe Cadillac and about the development of the Cadillac Automobile Company.

The museum is open in July and August and free to visit.

market hall and church in Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave

Places to Visit Nearby

Moissac with its world-famous cloisters is just six kilometres away. Said to be the most beautiful cloisters in the world with its 76 marble columns and fine carvings it is not to be missed if you are in the area.

The 'most beautiful village' of Auvillar is also near Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave and here you can admire the very unusual circular market hall at the centre of the village.

You can find more travel ideas in the Tarn-et-Garonne guide and the Midi-Pyrenees guide.

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Visit near Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave with France This Way reviews



Your challenge in Le Pin is to get a good glimpse of the fairytale castle, behind its hedges and closed to the public!

Le-Pin guide


Moissac might go unnoticed except it has the 12th century Abbey Church of Saint-Pierre, and one of the loveliest cloisters in France

Moissac guide


The lovely village of Auvillar has a very unusual round market hall in the village centre

Auvillar guide


Bardigues is a small village, very pleasant to stroll along the main street and to enjoy the views

Bardigues guide


Valence d'Agen has no important monuments but is an enjoyable unspoiled small town to explore

Valence-d'Agen guide


Although quite quick to visit you will enjoy a stroll around the peaceful centre of Castelsagrat

Castelsagrat guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Tarn-et-Garonne

Address: Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave, Castelsarrasin, Midi-Pyrenees, 82210, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 44.064662, longitude 1.023914

Plan your visit to Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave, Tarn-et-Garonne

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Moissac abbatiale St Pierre (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (7 km)
  • Auvillar: most beautiful village (10 km)
  • Abbaye de Saint Maurin (Saint-Maurin): religious monument (19 km)
  • Lauzerte: most beautiful village (23 km)
  • Jardin du Pèlerin: remarkable garden (23 km)
  • Gramont Chateau: national monument (25 km)
  • Eglise de Notre-Dame (Lacour): religious monument (26 km)
  • Montauban: secteur sauvegarde (27 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Martin (Layrac): religious monument (30 km)
  • Eglise Notre Dame (Frespech): religious monument (32 km)
  • Prieuré de Sainte Marie (Moirax): religious monument (34 km)
  • Lectoure: recommended detour (35 km)

The French version of this page is at Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave (Francais)