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A Week in Gascony with American journalist Kat Kalashian – part 2/3


This August Blog is part 2 of 3 Blogs which together record why Kat wanted to find out about Gascony, how she went about doing this and what she found when she came here. The first blog was published at the beginning of July and set the scene. This Blog records some of the places Kat visited and the people she met on days 1 and 2 of her visit. The next Blog in September with record details from days 3 and 4 of our travels around Gascony.

In terms of the details of what Kat saw and did, and what she thought about it all, I can do no better than quote from her detailed daily log. What follows are some of her comments from each day, together with related photographs.


“On the way we paused in Fleurance, another bastide, which borrowed the name Florence/Firenze from Italy to attract new residents. It’s a great market town - I took a pic of a Thai food truck, which I was very surprised by - it’s not typical to see international eateries like that in in rural France!

Larressingle was an amazing walled village, totally preserved in time—no cars can enter, and it’s just a few hundred square meters in area, so you can walk the whole town in about 5 mins, but it’s adorable - one of the “l'un des Plus Beaux Villages en France”, one of the most beautiful villages in France, an official acclamation.

The gated entrance to the C13 walled village of Larressingle, ‘officially one of the most beautiful villages in France’.

Fourcès was one of my favorite towns in the area. It’s another Bastide, but it’s very unusual that it has a circular town square instead of a square one! It’s another of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages’. It’s famous for its flower market in April.

The central ‘place’ of the unusual circular ‘bastide’ village of Fourcès on market day, another of the ‘most beautiful villages in France’

In Fourcès I met Laura and Ian Washburn, a British-American couple living in the area since 2020. Laura has started her own business locally: Atelier Cuisine Fourcès. They moved from LA to Paris to London, and then to Fourcès. She used to be a chef, and she’s brought that expertise to the local cuisine and offers cooking workshops and market/local gastronomy tours, and cheese tastings to new arrivals and tourists. Laura was a fantastic host, gave us a delicious lunch and even took me on a short market tour while we walked around on our interview.

A delicious lunch with Laura Washburn, an American chef now resident in Fourcès who runs cookery workshops.

The main south facing C17 ‘Italianate’ façade of Chateau de Poudenas, showing the beautifully sited swimming pool used by guests staying at the Chateau.

Chateau de Poudenas - A C13 castle handed down through the family to this day. C17, a complete re-modeling of the interior courtyard created two suspended terraces and the wide façade with a triple arcade reminiscent of an Italian villa with its surrounding landscape. Group tours offered, also a wedding and event space. Holiday rentals with SG. The mother and son who currently live in and manage the chateau gave us a personal tour of the chateau and the grounds. Really special experience to see such history close and explained by the family who have owned it for centuries!

One of the main reception rooms of Chateau de Poudenas, with a beautiful wooden floor, heraldic ceiling panels and portraits of earlier members of the family who still own this magnificent property.

Condom – an important town in the region, with all the amenities you’d want. I visited a villa near Condom called La Mouret that was bought by a British family and completely renovated. The family uses it often, but renting in the high season through SG, it would go for 5,000 euros a week! This isn’t a super-hot real estate market, but if you’ve got a good product, the unique properties down here can make serious money as rentals in summer.

The swimming pool at Le Mouret, near Condom, one of the special family-owned country houses offered for holiday rentals by Simply Gascony

It would be fair to say that after a week Gascony, Kat is now a fully committed ‘ambassador’ for this area. Kat has started publishing information about Gascony through the extensive LIOS publication network. Her first introductory article gives you a good idea of her LIOS interests:

Kat’s aim is to increase awareness in North America of this little-known, beautiful, and welcoming part of France; increased awareness will lead to more interest in visiting Gascony, in renting properties here for short or longer periods, and perhaps investing and retiring here for the long term.

Simply Gascony is very pleased to have this opportunity to work with LIOS and to support Kat’s Gascony promotion; we will provide a warm welcome to any LIOS subscribers who choose to visit Gascony.

If you would like to keep up to date on what LIOS is saying about Gascony, follow them on Instagram ( and Facebook (

And you can follow Simply Gascony on:

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