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Auch and the heart of Le Gers



Main towns and villages of Auch and the heart of Gers.


Auch, located in the heart of Gers, is the capital of good living and good eating: come and celebrate the Gascon’s happy way of life! Far from the overcrowded tourist routes, Auch and the heart of the Gers, seduces the visitor with its authentic charm and warm welcome. It is a land waiting to be discovered; wander the “pousterles” (steep medieval streets), talk to the locals by sharing good meals with them in the many restaurants, or picnic with a food hamper bought from local producersThe Gers river crosses the Auch, its landscaped riverbanks are perfect for long walks… The Grand Auch is a land of art and history with guided tours and places to explore all year long. During the summer there are plenty of events taking place. Historical places of interest are open all year round. There are museums, monuments, parks, gardens, shops and stalls available to see throughout the year. Festivals and events punctuate the year in Auch and the heart of the Gers. Check out our section "festival and events" for more information.

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AUCH

Auch is a vibrant town perfectly combining tradition with modernity; two important aspects for the Gascons. It is a land to wander and experience amusement, education, eating and resting. Enjoy the local heritage, events, parks and gardens, sporting activities... There are so many things for the tourist to see and do. And this is not all; Auch has many traditional villages waiting to be explored. Follow the guide!


Starting with a bit of sport, the “Escalier Monumental” (historic monument staircase) is a challenge with its 374 steps. On arrival you will see the D’artagnan Statue: enjoy the beautiful view. Right at the top, the 40 metre Armagnac tower overlooks the town. You will see the Sainte-Marie Cathedral, listed on the Unesco World Heritage sites. It is a gracious building that can be seen all the way round, as a reminder of the powerful historic capital of Gascony. The Gers Prefecture (Administrative centre) near the cathedral is an 18th century architectural complex. 


For museums and cultural centre enthusiasts, Auch has much to offer. The Espace d'Art Contemporain Memento is an interesting and peculiar place to appreciate art; the Musée des Jacobins, and its pre-colombian exhibitions, is a rich and entertaining place all year with its educational workshops. The Musée du Trésors de la Cathédrale (Cathedral’s Treasures Museum), at the bottom of the Armagnac tower, has exhibitions of religious art and artefacts.


Gascony is traditionally a festive place all year long. Auch has many events and celebrations such as the “Festival Éclat de Voix” which takes place mid-June with concerts, recitals, choirs. The “Festival Independence et Creation”, which screens fifty movies and has meetings with filmmakers; Circa (Circus Festival) takes place at the end of October for 10 days. You can watch the inspiring International School Circus and all sorts of performers routines


Auch is rich in beautiful green spaces (outside the wild countryside surrounding it). In the heart of the town, stop in the charming Parc de l'Hôtel du Département, with its huge trees and little pond; it is a really relaxing spot... Or make your way to Ortholan Public Gardens and the “theatre de verdure” (outside amphitheatre). On a larger scale, the Bois d'Auch is the perfect place for a family gathering; this 110 hectare park offers a health trail with 17 obstacles. The English style Coulomé Park stretches around a 16th century castle; a children's playground will delight the kids...while the parents wander amongst the 450 labelled botanical specimens.



Auriane’s top plan: Our Blogger wandered the streets of Auch. Find all the hidden secrets, the must be seen places and best tips! Read Auriane’s article here




Guide du Gers in Auch: Best tips

  • Explore the town in a sporty way with a rowing experience on the Gers River!
  • Book yourself into “Véliviole Auch” for your first gliding flight, a surprising way to see the landscapes in the heart of the Gers. 
  • Auch and its region is a land which is hilly and, at times, steep! Many cycling trails are available, which are pedal friendly... To enjoy the landscape without being exhausted, rent an electric bike! Without effort or noise, you can explore the countryside and the town with ease. 
  • Between Auch and Lectoure, visit la Ferme en coton, for poultry farming and organic cereal farming. You will see goats, sheep, geese, pigs, rabbits ... a real farm! The kids will love it!



The Gers riverbanks, in Auch

The Escalier Monumental in Auch

Sainte-Marie Cathedral in Auch

Terrace of Café in Auch


CASTIN

Castin used to have a castle. Unfortunately, it was destroyed. Visitors can admire the beautiful 1900 viaduct which is 126 metres long and has twelve arches. The viaduct used to have a railway line from Auch to Bazas. Castin is a small flower-filled village (Awarded 3 flowers in the “Ville & Village Fleuri” Competition).


Viaduc in Castin and its arches

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LAVARDENS

Lavardens Castle proudly overlooks the town, it is a must-see in the heart of the Gers. It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and is listed as a historic monument, with its peculiar towers Lavardens is listed as a “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (most beautiful villages in Fance), also look for its 18th century church, its medieval streets ... 

Close to Lavardens, visit Jegun, an 11th century bastide town with beautiful ancient houses. Each year there is, in mid-August, the famous “Foire aux vins et eaux de vie” (wine and brandy fair)

Not far away, Ordan-Larroque, is a very pretty village which was awarded 4 flowers in the "Ville & Village Fleuri” National Competition.


Auriane’s top plan: Dogs are not allowed inside the castle. Visits are free but could be guided on request for up to 10 people. Credit cards are accepted from €10 upwards. Little extras: prices vary depending on the exhibitions from mid-October to mid-January.  Read Auriane’s Article here.



Guide du Gers in Lavardens: Best tips

  • On the hilly paths surrounding the village there are beautiful viewpoints for looking at the castle. 
  • In Jegun, a few kilometres away, on Wednesday mornings all year round, there is a farmers' market in the main street, in the market hall. 




Lavardens Bastide

Lavardens Castle


BARRAN

Barran is a small bastide town on the road to Via Tolosane which is part of the route to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. The church of Saint Jean-Baptiste has a peculiar 'hélicoïdale' tower-bell and the remains of the fortifications of the town: you can see the towergate and its walls. Not far from the centre, visit Mazères Castle, an imposing country house located in the middle of the vines, with an intresting past, an internal courtyard and big square tower.

During Heritage Day visit the privately owned Nux Castle, an ancient restored “Gascony room”. 



The city gates of Barran

The helicoidal tower bell of Barran

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CASTELNAU-BARBARENS

In the south east of Auch, clinging to a hillside, is the village of Castelnau-Barbarens. The 13th century tower stands tall to compete with the Sainte Quitterie Church, built on the location of a former medieval castle. A bit lower down the hill, enter the small chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Pitié which houses artistic exhibitions. Visit the “embans”, these are concentric streets with covered passageways, which used to be the home of artisans and traders. At the bottom of this charming flower-filled village (2 flowers in the Ville & Village Fleuri” National Competition) the Arrats river flows. The “Lo Rondèu de Castelnau Festival” (music and traditional dance festival) takes place every two years and brings an Occitan spirit to the village. 


Guide du Gers in Castelnau-Barbarens: Best tips

  • Visit a farm and see what is produced, contact the Gesta family, at their farm En Castéra
  • See the orientation table diagram at the top of the village for an interesting look at the landscape. 
  • A 13km hike, the “Chemin du bois Bedat” starts from Bois Bédat at the bottom of the village.



The Embrans, small sheltered concentric streets

Castelnau-Barbarens and its heritage


VIC-FEZENSAC

Vic-Fezensac is a traditional bastide town of Gers. The town hosts the biggest European Latino music festival (welcoming more than 50,000 people!): the Tempo Latino Festival, takes place at the end of July. 4 days and 4 nights of music! The festival takes place in the 7,000 seater Joseph Fourniol arena, open to guided tours. Vic-Fezensac is a big town in Gers and the Feria Del Toro event, which takes place at the beginning of June, gathers enthusiasts who enjoy bull culture. On the heritage side, visit Saint-Pierre Church which was added to many times over the centuries. Near the town, Pimbat Cruzalet castle is nestled in the countryside, and can be visited with prior booking.


Guide du Gers in Vic-Fezensac: Best Tips

  • The Fontan vineyard has been a family business for 4 generations. It produces the Domaine de Maubet wine. It is open to visitors and the wine can be tasted.
  • There is an outstanding, beautifully coloured, building in town. It is the Musée de l'Artiste (Artists' Museum) where creative expression can be seen on the facade! It belongs to Cathy, a young artist who is bursting with imagination.
  • For a convivialevening where you can meet the locals, visit Pachamama Café, here you will find concerts, tapas and local products ... 



The arenas of Vic-Fezensac

The Musée de l'Artiste, in Vic-Fezensac