Moissac is a historical port on the majestic river Tarn as well as being an important harbour on the Midi canal. As an early water-based transport hub the town’s early growth was virtually guaranteed. The region grows and sells over 200,000 tonnes of fruit such as peaches, nectarines, cherries, kiwis, melons, apples, pears and strawberries as well as the famous chasselas grape which grows the area all around the town.
Moissac is a popular stopping place on the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela and any time spent at one of the cafes next to the Benedictine Abbey of St Pierre will allow you to see pilgrims coming and going.
The Abbey was founded in the 7th century and was then partly destroyed by the Moorish invasion, restored at the time of Charlemagne, and then destroyed again by the Normans. That was not to be the end of it as it was then devastated by Simon de Montfort during the Cathar wars and restored by the famous gothic revivalist architect, Viollet le Duc, ensuring that it became one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches of its kind.
Today the Abbey consists of a bell tower, with porch and extremely impressive carved doorway, and a unique nave, with Romanesque stone below and Gothic brick above and an extraordinary carved tympanum and cloisters with 116 pillars which are the oldest and biggest and reputedly the most beautiful in France.
There is a museum located with the Tourist Office (behind the Abbey) which gives access to the wonderful cloisters and covers much of the Abbey’s past and the town’s history much further back in time.
The road up to the Abbey from the large market square offers a selection of places to eat and a few independent shops. In the town you will also find art galleries, banks, groceries, bakers and shops selling local food products. On the outskirts of town you will find larger supermarket and retail type areas.
The market takes place on both Saturday and Sundays and makes for a lovely and lively time to visit. There is also an indoor market building with a great variety of local delights.
The canal with its colourful barges and the wide river both make for lovely walks and for a chance to view the town from a different perspective.