Climate & Countryside
WONDERFUL YEAR ROUND CLIMATE....
Climate & Countryside
Gascony has a great year-round climate, with warm and temperate spring, summer and autumn months. With practically no pollution, Gascony is one of the healthiest destinations in Europe - for both the mind and the body. The beautiful, unspoilt countryside of rolling hills and valleys offers plenty of scope for expeditions and exploring, the chance to enjoy an active holiday at your own pace. This is ideal for days spent by the pool or exploring ancient villages and markets full of local produce, then dining alfresco. The majestic Pyrenees Mountains dominate the southern horizon, providing excellent skiing in winter and summer hill-walking with the wildflowers and mountain birds.
Our climate is generally mild throughout the whole year, although current changes in the global climate seem to be leading towards longer and hotter Gascon summers, lasting from June until September, while keeping the traditional fine autumns in October (see Weather Report chart below). The skiing season in the Pyrenees is also getting later, now starting in December and continuing through the Spring and well into April.
This Gascon climate, with its long growing season and warm summers, plus the fertile soil and winter rain, have ensured that Gascony has remained predominantly agricultural, with no large towns or industrial areas and hence no significant pollution. This generous climate and geography made Gascony rich in the pre-industrial period, as shown by its fine mediaeval domestic, civic, and church architecture.
Average daily temperatures in July and August are in the range 25°C to 30°C, and often above 35°C – hot enough to require sunhats, siestas, and ice-cold beer! Spring and Autumn in Gascony are also very appealing, especially for activity-based holidays such as walking, riding, and cycling. In these seasons we have cooler temperatures, ranging from 15° to 25°C, but the weather is still very pleasant. [link to weather report]
There is typically some rainfall in every month of the year. July and August can present sudden epic thunderstorms with rain of flooding strength, violent winds and dramatic lightening.
In Winter temperatures may occasionally fall well below zero with snow falling about once every 10 years. Mostly, winters are much shorter than in Britain, starting in mid to late December, and ending with the swift arrival of Spring in early March.
Although December, January and February are the only properly cold months, snow rarely settles for long. But on a clear day, look South and you will see the Pyrenees mountains covered with deep snow, just two hours away and providing wonderful uncrowded, and inexpensive skiing. The best months for skiing are January, February and March.
June, July, August, and September. This is the best time to visit from a tourism point of view, as the days are usually hot, clear and rainless, and hardly ever muggy. July and August are the traditional ‘high season’ months, but June and September, being a bit cooler, are also very appealing. In July and August, there are many festivals and village parties, markets are bigger and everyone is on holiday. All our properties are available in Summer.
March, April, and May. Spring comes early and quickly in Gascony, with wildflowers appearing everywhere. Gascony is quieter but still full of charm and there is lots to do. This is an ideal time for activity-based holidays.
October and November. Often described as the ‘Gascon Summer’, a reference to the idea of the ‘Indian Summer’, most pools stay open at least until the end of October. This the time of the grape harvest and many local wine festivals.
December, January, February. Many of our properties are available to rent during the Winter/Spring months, with wood fires and central heating. Christmas/New Year are great fun here and for January, February and March staying in Gascony gives you access to superb skiing in the Pyrenees. Ask us for more details…you have the extra option of some great skiing in the Pyrenees.
Gascony extends from the Pyrenees mountains in the South to the River Garonne in the North, and from the Atlantic coast to the West as far as, but not including the City of Toulouse to the East. This wide area is shown on the map under the heading 'Where is Gascony'. To the East of Toulouse, both the Montagne Noire and the Mediterranean Sea also affect the climate of Gascony.
This geography, the mountains, the rivers, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean all combine to influence our climate. The different forces have varying effects on the Seasons, and on local micro-climates, depending exactly where you are in Gascony. The competing influences of the weather from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean contribute to the character of the highly regarded 'country wines' of Gascony, made here since Roman times.
The rolling hills of Gascony are one of its defining features, with enough variety to be interesting but not too steep to be difficult. The soil is generally a mixture of clay and limestone; so long as you are patient and don’t try to ‘force’ the work, the land can be well-farmed so that with the benefit of warmth, a long growing season and, usually, plenty of rain or river water, this has always been, since pre-Roman times, a rich agricultural area. Farming is still the main industry today. The farms are typically quite small, family owned, and sustainably managed with a ‘mixed’ production range. In the East it’s mainly cereals, garlic, maize and sunflowers, with some beef cattle; as you go West, onto poorer land, so vineyards become more common, supporting the long-established and very good ‘Cotes de Gascogne’ wine areas; to the North, in the Garonne valley there is lots of soft fruit production, with apple and plum orchards, and the famous melon farms around Lectoure. Generally, the weather is sufficiently kind and the daylight hours long enough, for the farmers always to have time to do what they have to do without appearing to be under pressure.
Auch, the capital of ancient Gascony and now of the modern Département of 'Le Gers', is on approximately the same latitude as Nice and Cannes in the middle of the French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) in the Southeast of France. Auch is also conveniently located roughly in the centre of Le Gers, and the centre of the Simply Gascony rental area. Auch is about 900 kilometres/550 miles due South of London, with a driving distance via the Channel Tunnel and down the A20 ("L'Occitane") of 725 miles or about 13 hours, door to door.
GASCONY 30 year average weather report
Source: Based on information provided by https://weatherspark.com/y/43441/Average-Weather-in-Auch-France-Year-Round