HElping you in and around Gascony
Gascony is a beautiful, unspoilt, very welcoming, and deeply rural part of Southwest France, close to the Pyrenees Mountains and stretching all the way between the exciting historic cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse. The ancient Dukedom of Gascony is now mainly within the boundaries of the modern 'département' of ‘Le Gers’. For 300 years during the Middle Ages, Gascony was part of the English Angevin empire. This is ancient ‘Occitan’, the land of Troubadours and Musketeers. Auch, the only city, is close to Lupiac, the birthplace of the d’Artagnan, of ‘The Three Musketeers’.
Gascony is different from the better-known regions of France such as the Cote d’Azure, Bourgogne, Provence or the Dordogne. Gascony is famous for its ‘douceur de vivre’ (sweetness of life). Here you will find real countryside, with endless rolling hills and wooded valleys, very low population density, welcoming local people, wonderful star-lit night skies, and on a clear day you will see the majestic snow-capped Pyrenees mountains all along the Southern horizon. There is little noise and virtually no air or light pollution – creating a clear, luminous quality of light enjoyed by painters and photographers. Summer days are long, warm, and sunny, without being painfully hot. May/June and September/October often provide the most pleasant weather in the year. In winter and spring, there is the option of good, uncrowded skiing close by in the Pyrenees.
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Gascony is one of France’s best-kept secrets, a bit like Tuscany in Italy but very French with an added dash of Spanish fun! The land is covered with vineyards, sunflowers, Olive and Cypress trees. There are fascinating mediaeval ‘bastide’ villages and imposing fortified castles, fine historic chateaux and churches, and iconic ‘Pigeoniers’. Hidden amongst these historic treasures are old, stone-built chateaux, country houses, farmhouses, and cottages. Some of these special properties are now offered as holiday rentals by Simply Gascony.
Farms in Gascony are typically small, family affairs, many run organically with mixed production and nature-conservation a natural habit. There are masses of wildflowers, fine old oak woods, hidden lakes, bees, butterflies, exotic birds, deer and wild boar. There is a flourishing street market somewhere nearby every day of the week, with delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables, superb garlic, wild honey and a vast range of locally produced meats, breads, and cheeses. Gascony produces a rich variety of authentic country wines and liqueurs, including world-famous Armagnac which has been produced in this area for over 600 years.
There are lots of activities to be enjoyed in Gascony: walking, biking, and horse-riding through the beautiful countryside are very popular; golf, tennis, fishing, water-skiing, hot-air ballooning and micro-light flying are all available. About an hour South of Auch you will reach the sensational Pyrenees mountains. Here you will find family-friendly skiing in winter; in spring and summer you can enjoy wonderful walks, birdwatching, rafting, canoeing and paragliding. Two and a half hours West of Auch takes you to the Atlantic beaches for great surfing; the same distance to the East is the Mediterranean. In summer, every village and town has its own vibrant festival, the most famous of which is the Marciac International Jazz Festival. There is something for everyone to do – or you can take great pleasure doing nothing except lying by your pool or sitting at one of the many local bars and cafés watching the world go gently by…
Life here is very relaxed and stress-free. The open-air lifestyle and healthy varied diet, provides the perfect conditions for a weekend break, a family holiday, or a longer change of lifestyle. Visitors to Gascony can unwind and enjoy that unique sense of ‘bien-être’ (well-being) that affects everyone in this wonderful part of ‘La France Profonde’. After a holiday in Gascony, you will return home restored and refreshed – and thinking about how soon to come here again!