Gascony... "We have only what we remember"
We can think of nowhere gentler in all of France to create wonderful holiday memories than Gascony...
Renowned for its rolling countryside, this region has a character all its own, with its famous bastide villages formally designed around a central square. There is so much to see and so much to enjoy in Gascony, with a feeling that there is all the time in the world to enjoy it. Gascony has a rich historical heritage involving Barons, Counts and even Kings of France, including Louis XIV, the Sun King, who ruled for over 70 years! To this day, Gascony's villages, towns and cities contain some of the finest examples of medieval French and Renaissance architecture in Europe.
The French attribute 'douceur de vivre' to the quality of life in the region with its fresh Atlantic coast and great wines of Bordeaux. Armagnac offers a local alternative to Cognac, as foie gras sets a delicious if controversial gastronomic standard.
Gascony's historical cities:
This is the original capital of Gascony and was home to the Comte d'Artagnan, who inspired Alexandre Dumas' romantic hero in what became 'The Three Musketeers'. At the heart of the city is the magnificent Cathédrale de Sainte-Marie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site justly famous for its 16th century stained glass windows and intricately carved choir stalls. Also well worth a visit is the 19th century Monumental Stairway and the Jacobin museum. Or you may prefer simply to wander through the old streets and courtyards and enjoy lunch in one of the many restaurants, bistros and brasseries.
This listed village, on the edge on Gascony, boasts an 18th century Château, an ancient church and also a honey museum. On site you can learn about the process of making honey and also taste the produce itself, made with local nectar.
Perched on a hill, this village has to be one of the most beautiful in all of France. Visitors come from all over the region, and from further afield, just to see its famous Château or to enjoy one of the various exhibitions hosted there throughout the year.
Built on Gallo-Roman ruins and home of 'woad', this important Gascon city warrants a 'must-see' rating. It is here, for centuries, that the traditional blue dye of the area has been produced from the isatis tinctoria plant. Today you can visit the tannery where the woad is still made.
Moissac and Auvillar
These two towns in the Tarn and Garonne department are known locally for their architecture - which differs in style from that of Gers villages mainly in the use of terracotta bricks as opposed to the white Gers stone. Both towns are still an important stop on the route taken by the pilgrims of Saint Jacques de Compostella. Stroll or cycle along the Canal de Garonne in Moissac, and be sure to sample one of the town's traditional aperitifs, made using the local 'chassela' grape.
Monfort and Sarrant
Stride along the ramparts and explore these ancient lanes in order to appreciate more fully an architectural heritage that links the past to the present in all directions.
This will have to be a day trip, but what a day! The view on arriving at Rocamadour is outstanding. Built into the rock, this 10th century village is one of the most visited sites in France and boasts several World Heritage monuments. Children will especially enjoy a visit to the eagle and monkey parks close by.
Nicknamed 'la ville rose' on account of the red brick construction of many of the older buildings, Toulouse is the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Rich in culture and history, with fine examples of the Renaissance, it is today a symbol of modernism and home to the French aerospace industry. Toulouse is a vibrant centre, with museums and shops for all the family to enjoy, amazing markets, and restaurants that cater for every taste, gourmet and gourmand!
There is so much to discover in Gascony on a day-trip - please do not hesitate to ask us for more information and guidance. It's what we're here for, et c'est avec plaisir!