New This Month
SPECIAL OFFERS FROM SIMPLY GASCONY...
New for NOVEMBER
Every month we publish details of new offers and new information, to do with the various services we provide for guests renting our properties. Click on any of the headings below to take you to the relevant section lower down this page or on other pages.
NEW PROPERTIES 2024 – we will have some new properties for 2024 – watch this space!
GASCONY LIFE BLOG – This Blog continues from our October Blog “Gascon Food”, which was a general summary of current cooking activity in Gascony. This month we look at the cooking ideas and plans for 2024 of two excellent local cooks who are both Working Partners of Simply Gascony:
LAURA WASHBURN – https://ateliercuisinefources.com/
DOUNIA SILEM - https://www.doo-eat.fr/dounia-silem.html
RÉSUMÉ - ceci est notre bref résumé de l'ensemble de ce site-web. Vous pouvez consulter ou télécharger ce document illustré qui explique notre fonctionnement.
SUMMARY – this is our short summary of this whole website. You can view or download this illustrated document which explains how we operate.
SLOW TOURISM IN GASCONY
“Slow tourism is an approach to tourism that is presented as an alternative to mass tourism. It forms part of the wider sustainable tourism movement. It can be seen as the tourism industry equivalent of the ‘slow food’ movement, which emphasizes the enjoyment of local food and traditional recipes over fast food and mass consumption.
With this in mind, slow travel places an emphasis on discovering the culture, history, and characteristics of the local area, rather than creating an itinerary and attempting to cram in as many different travel experiences as possible. In addition to emphasizing meaningful and authentic engagement with a travel destination, slow tourism also promotes concern about the local environment and sustainability in general.”
Here are some of our suggestions:
One of the best ways to experience a country area like Gascony, is through buying, preparing, and tasting its food and wines – especially if you start with the local markets and the small, independent wine makers.
October Blog – “Gascon Food”
November Blog – “A Tale of Two Cooks”
Visit your local village or town and see if you can find evidence of the culture, activities and wars of past generations that have shaped the buildings in Gascony that you see today. For example, the pilgrims that for the last 1000 years have been walking through Gascony, across the Pyrenees and on to Santiago de Compostela in Spain; the fortifications built during The 100 Years War; the development of the ‘Bastides’ (new towns) during the medieval period from c.1100 to c.1400; the Wars of Religion in the C16th; the French Revolution in the late C18th and the Napoleonic Wars of the early C19th.
A very good ‘slow’ way to explore the countryside, the markets, wineries and villages is by electric bike. Our Working Partner e-Velo Gers was set up on the brilliant and environmentally sound principle that the business would have a number of bike-hire bases spread across Le Gers, accessible to anyone without the need to travel great distances to pick up a rental bike. it doesn’t make environmental sense (and it is very expensive) to transport electric bikes long distances in a diesel van so that people can bike short distances while on holiday. Why not give it a try? Every SG guest who already tried this had a wonderful experience!
Following the last fling of Summer in September/October, called here “L'été Gascon” (The Gascon Summer) Autumn really starts with November and quickly changes to Winter as December and the New Year approach. If you are thinking of an Autumn/Winter holiday in Gascony, here are some of our properties that have central heating and wood fires:
Sleeps 10 adults
Up to £5000/week
Mouret’ is a very appealing traditional stone-built Gascon farmhouse, probably early C19 and well restored to make a very comfortable holiday home. The property is ideally located about 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of Condom and 5 minutes from the nearest shops. The house faces south and is situated in its own land, private and secluded with views across woods and grasslandand close to the Armagnac Greenway, an old railway track now used for cycling and walking. Condom has a fine Cathedral and lots of shops and restaurants.
There are 5 double bedrooms with ‘king’ beds and well-appointed ensuite bathrooms. The large kitchen and adjacent dining room lead out to the grounds with lawns and an excellent swimming pool (heated, salt water and electric cover). There are two sitting rooms with open wood fire or wood-burning stoves. There is also an adjacent ‘apartment’ with double bed and private bathroom.
Condom is a centre for wine-making in Gascony and it’s town-centre ‘sea port’ on the river Baiseused to be the loading point for Gascon wine and Armagnac to be placed on barges for transport down river to Bordeaux, then to be shipped off to northern Europe and especially to England.
We are delighted to add Mouret to our list of Gascon Country Houses, confident that it will appeal greatly to families and groups of friends who enjoy coming on holiday in Gascony.
LA FONTAINE (SUMMARY)
Sleeps 6 adults
Up to £1750/week
‘La Fontaine’ is a handsome C18 stone house just below the medieval ramparts of Lectoure, five minutes’ walk from the fine C13 Cathedral and the centre of town, full of excellent shops and restaurants. The property is laid out on three storeys, with a charming, terraced garden looking south across the rolling hills of Gascony to the Pyrenees.
The spacious living room has an open wood fire. There are three bedrooms – two with double beds, one with two singles (plus a double sofa bed on the top landing), and two bathrooms plus a third WC. The small newly refurbished kitchen is well-equipped with electric oven and induction hob, dishwasher, and large fridge; there is gas central heating and a washing machine.
Lectoure is ancient, dating back to pre-Roman times, when it was an important city and regional capital. The house ‘La Fontaine’ is very close to the ancient ‘fountain’, or spring, harnessed by the Romans in the C3 and dedicated to Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting. The present stone structure holding the water dates mainly from the C13, the same time as the building of the cathedral. Today, Lectoure is officially recognized as a ‘Town of Art & History” and it remains an important stopping place on one of the main pilgrim routes to Satiago de Compostella
LES CHENES (SUMMARY)
Sleeps 12 adults + extra children
Up to £6000/week
Located in the South of Gascony, close to the attractive village of Montastruc, Les Chenes is a brilliant holiday home. The house is South and East facing with a sheltered private position in a large garden with lawns and mature trees. There is a very attractive swimming pool and pool house. The two ‘wings’ are arranged around a ‘sun-trap’ courtyard.
There are 6 double bedrooms. Three have ensuite bathrooms and three share a large family bathroom with bath and shower and a separate shower room. Large kitchen, stunning dining room, sitting rooms, TV/games room, gym – in fact masses of space for 12 with elbow room to add at least 4 children.
Prices on request
CHATEAU DE GLATENS (SUMMARY)
Sleeps 12 adults in winter
Up to £9000/week
Chateau de Glatens in Northeast Gascony is superbly sited high up in the hills looking Southeast across the valley of the river Gimone to the local market town of Beaumont de Lomagne, just 10 minutes’ drive away. Beaumont is a very attractive medieval ‘bastide’ town founded in 1276. Today it has an excellent Saturday market in the central ‘place’ under the ancient open-sided market hall, as well as all the shops and other amenities you might need.
The early C19 house sits very privately in 5 acres of gardens and woods, with extraordinary views across the surrounding Gascon countryside of rolling hills and woods. The property has been very well restored and is now an excellent, very well equipped, luxury holiday home. There are 6 double bedrooms with top quality ensuite bathrooms in the main house, sleeping 12 in great comfort. The vast kitchen with breakfast table is equipped to professional standards, and the rest of the reception rooms (including an Orangery) provide ample space. A very unusual feature is the walled courtyard with a covered dining area that provides a perfect, sheltered space in which to relax – eating outside is a year-round option at Glatens! There is a heated saltwater swimming pool well-placed in the garden.
Simply Gascony Skiing Properties
Although you can ski in the Pyrenees based at any of our ‘Winter Available’ properties, the four closest to the ski stations, and especially to Saint Lary, are:
Les Chenes is under an hour’s drive to Saint Lary, and the other three properties are under two hours. If you decide to go skiing for two days, with an overnight stay in or near Saint Lary, then this ‘double holiday’ idea could work based on any of our Winter Available properties. This whole arrangement is very flexible - you don’t have to book the skiing element months in advance. When you are booking your rental house, simply tell us that you are interested in this skiing option, and we will introduce you to Sarrat Sport – you can then follow the snow conditions on their website. Sarrat Sport can make all the practical arrangements for you and provide a guide so that you get the maximum benefit from your days in the mountains.
This is what the owner of ‘Les Chenes’ says about ‘local skiing’ in the French Pyrenees:
“Les Chenes is only an hour from the ski slopes of the French Pyrenees. These majestic mountains form a natural border between Gascony and Spain. On the French side there are over 30 ski resorts, over 1000 kms of pistes, a maritime climate providing healthy quantities of snow, North facing slopes with a long ski season, and a culture of skiing that is quite distinct from the Alps.
Here, there are no crowds, few foreigners, not much opportunity to queue barge at a lift; the ski passes are almost half the price of the Alps, and the possibility exists almost daily to find yourself on a nearly empty slope!
We often go to St Lary, which has over 100km of slopes for all skill levels, as well as for beginners, as does the Domaine du Tourmalet, which includes Barèges and La Mongie. And that is only the start…all within easy reach of our Gascony home.
As a family we have skied a lot in the Alps, but now we have completely converted to the Pyrenees - the powder, the peace and quiet, the restaurant on the slopes with a table free within a 10-minute wait. And then you can drive back after hours of wonderful skiing, where all the comforts of home are quite literally waiting! Once you’ve skied the Pyrenees, you’re hooked!”
Gascony Life Blog
A monthly article covering in detail some aspect of life in Gascony. Go to our blog page for about fifty fascinating articles!
The November Blog is titled:
When renting one of our holiday houses this summer, make sure you visit as many of the local village markets as possible to discover the area through its food, with fresh products coming directly from the farmers of the area.
Gascon Wine of the Month
Each month Romain Bourlot of ‘De la Terre au Verre’ (‘From the Earth to the Glass’) in Lectoure who is one of our Working Partners, recommends an independent Gascon wine maker. Romain’s selection focuses on wine makers he knows who produce interesting and good value wines, and who will welcome visits to their winery.
Romain’s Wine of the Month is:
Domaine de Saint-Aubin, located at Réans near Eauze. Here they produce white wine (dry and sweet), rosé and Red. They also produce very good Armagnac.
Romain says: “In my shop, I have:
The dry white wine ‘Vigne de Bel Air’, which is a blend of chardonnay and sauvignon, fresh and fruity, perfect as an apéritif or to drink with seafood.
I also very much like ‘Acrobat’, which is made with 100% Chardonnay, a white wine with more intensity and aromatic .
The two reds, ‘Sauban’ and ‘Marcassins’ are made with a blend of Merlot and Malbec.
However, Domaine de Saint-Aubin is perhaps best known for its award-winning Armagnacs, produced in the ‘Bas-Armagnac’ area of Gascony.
As the IWSC judges of the ‘Club Oenologique’ said:
“Armagnac doesn’t have the prestige or image of Cognac, but it has history on its side. It was first made at least two centuries before its more-famous neighbour got in on the act, and because it’s distilled just once,
Château Saint Aubin, Bas-Armagnac Age 10 was judged in the IWSC competition to be one of the top 10 Armagnacs tasted, with the following comments:
“Apples and pears, followed by tobacco leaf, Christmas spice, bergamot and herbaceous notes. The rich and intense palate has appealing weight and notable travel on the finish.”
Domaine Haut Campagnau
Tél. : 06 18 14 83 35
email : [email protected]
Romain will be delighted to help Simply Gascony guests with the selection of wines for their holiday. This could include for example supplying a mixed tasting case of 12 Gascon wines to be waiting at your property for your arrival. Perhaps you might like to have Romain’s recommendations for a tasting tour of wine properties near your rental house. Or you might like to visit Lectoure (a really attractive historic market town with excellent restaurants and shops) and include a wine-tasting at De la Terre au Verre.
You will deal directly with De la Terre au Verre – we will simply provide you with the introduction.
De la Terre au Verre
25 Rue Nationale
Tel : 05 62 68 51 40
GO TO GASCONY WINE AND ARMAGNAC BLOGS....