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Towns and villages of Val d'Adour, Astarac, the natural balcony of the pyrenees

The nature balcony of the Pyrenees

Main towns and villages from the natural balcony of the Pyrenees Mountains.  

Val d'Adour and Astarac are two natural regions popular with the Gers enthusiasts. On this Pyrenean balcony, explore a landscape of valleys and hills, against the backdrop of the beautiful Pyrenees Mountains. There are many rivers, one of them, the Adour river winds through ripples of rocky ground. This clay soil is ideal for growing vines in the north; there are many lakes in the south. This is a land of local traditions and far from the stresses of the towns and cities. You can happily fish, hike or enjoy the cultural heritage of the area. The local cuisine and farm products will keep your appetite satisfied. The alluvial plain of the Adour is ideal for agriculture, one of the main economic resources of the region. In the heart of the southwest, there is a hint of rural modernity, and the locals know how to party all year long using Gascony local traditions, like bullfighting, or by inviting musicians from all over the world to celebrate Jazz in Marciac. Head into the vines, walk along the rivers, marvel at the Pyrenees and feel like you are living in a postcard.

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Lupiac is where one of the most famous Gascons was born; Charles de Batz de Castelmore. Have you heard of him? You have - he is d'Artagnan! An iconic character, he spent his childhood at Castelmore Castle (4km from Lupiac, the castle cannot be visited but can be admired!) before giving service to King Louis XIV. His adventures and life story are told at the D’Artagnan Museum in the town centre. Nearby, you can see the first statue of the musketeer on horseback. It was made by the talented Daphnée Du Barry. Visit Saint-Barthélémy Church, located in the heart of the most ancient fortified castelnau in the Gers. After your cultural tour, go to Lupiac Lake (completely free!) and enjoy 13 hectares of woodland, a sandy beach with a children's playground, plus other activities: fishing, canoe/kayak tours, windsurfing and rowing! The Guinguette du Lac, open during the summer, is in a lovely setting. There is a restaurant with very friendly staff. For many years, in mid-August, a big festival, “d’Artagnan chez d’Artagnan” (fr) has taken place. 500 characters dress up and recreate a wonderful historic show which will please all the family. 

Do it your wayThe museum is open from mid-March to Mid-November. The price is €5.50 for adults, €4,50 for the 12-18 year olds and €3 for the 6-11 year olds. This includes an audio-guide, for the adults and the children, telling the story of this famous musketeer, seesawing between reality and imagination. The visit lasts for approximately one hour. Read our article here (fr).

Guide du Gers in Lupiac: Best tips

  • Great news for horse riders! The introduction of a European Road of d’Artagnan, has been opening bit by bit... The road starts in Lupiac and includes 6 countries and 15 regions
  • If you are around at the end of March, come and taste the wines of Saint-Mont during the festival which takes place in the heart of the town. 
  • On holidays with your family? How about a short walk 1.8km, round the town centre, following the games and explanations of the trail suggested by the organisers (fr).

D'Artagnan Statue in Lupiac

Castelmore Castle, residence of the d'Artagnan Family


In Plaisance, there are not one, but two “Places des Arcades”! One is medieval and the other dates back to the prosperity of the town during the 19th century. The church in the square (11th November Square) dates from the middle of the 19th century, it hosts a sumptuous and monumental wind instrument, a large organ of 49 'games' (rows of tubes) which still work thanks to specialised equipment: the sensorial orgue, a motion detection system is quite surprising and accessible to all. Built in 1988, it required more than 20,000 hours of work! Plaisance-sur-Gers is a town of fun and games... Have fun with your family at the mini-golf where the buildings of the town have been reproduced in miniature. There is a 7 hectare lake for fishing and a beautiful outdoor activity centre. An arena offers some 'Courses Landaises' (an ancient form of bullfighting that involves no bloodshed), and "novillada" shows. 

Plaisance has been host to the Festival du Jeu "RPGers" (fr) organised by the dynamic 'Association Multiculturelle' of the town, for more than 20 years. Over 8,000 m2, lasting several days, it is a "festival" of board games, role-play, and life sized carts and figurines. 

Guide du Gers in Plaisance-du-Gers: The Best Tips

  • In May, a beautiful “Salon des métiers d'art” (professional art show) takes place, with many free events.
  • A few kilometres away from the town, visit Termes d'Armagnac, and admire the imposing 13th century military tower. 
  • The Adour and Arros riverbanks are excellent for hiking; check the itinerary with the Plaisance Tourist Office! 
  • Not far from the town is the Maison de l'eau (fr) in Jû-Belloc and its 100 hectare reserve park crossed by the Adour River.

Place des Arcades

Walk along the banks of Plaisance-du-Gers

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What would Jazz be without Marciac and Marciac without Jazz? The International Jazz Festival, which takes place every year from the end of July to the 15th August, brings a crowd and has a good reputation in the jazz world! A modern, high quality museo-graphic “Les Territoires du Jazz” (The territories of Jazz) is open to improve your jazz musical knowledge (during the summer and outside the high season it is open to groups upon request). Marciac also has a beautiful Natural History Museum, with an impressive bird collection, arenas for 'Course Landaise', a lovely lake of 30 hectares, which is perfect for fishing, riding a pedalo or for a lovely walk. Also to be seen is the beautiful Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption Church, which has one of the town's belltowers; the second one is on the former convent. The Espace Eqart, and many other galleries, exhibit the varied work of artists. Finally, the Astrada has concerts (Jazz, but other music too!) and shows all year round. There is really a lot to do in Marciac

Guide du Gers in Marciac: The Best Tips

  • Do you like old cars? On the second Sunday of the month, there is a meeting of enthusiasts at Marciac Lake from 9.20am.
  • Salon de la caricature (caricature show), is on during Pentecost weekend
  • The Tourist office has a guide “Découverte historique de ce Grand Site de Midi-Pyrénées” (13 km) (Historic discovery of the grand site of Midi-Pyrenees (13 km), a "special children's" version is available...

Marciac Town Centre


The small town of Montesquiou is very attractive. It is the chief town of 17 communes. It is the homeland of the Montesquiou family, the mother of the famous d'Artagnan is one of their descendants. During the 19th century, the village was powerful and well populated, but the rural exodus progressively emptied the countryside. Today a neo-rural population is attracted to Montesquiou, like many small villages in Gers! Check out the 13th century tower, from which there are beautiful views of the countryside! Saint-Martin church will please pilgrims, Montesquiou being on the Via Tolosana of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Do not miss the beautiful 74 hectare Lizet Lake, a typical landscape of Astarac showing its diversity and its fauna!

Guide du Gers in Montesquiou: Best tip

  • Visit a typical farm: the Malicorne farm only breeds... snails! 12 hectares of green cultivation for these gastropods and direct sales for 'persillade' lovers...
  • A few kilometres away is Bassouès and its beautiful dungeon tower or keep
  • Mid-August, Montesquiou hosts a funky Rock FestivalMontesquiou on the Rocks, pass the word around! 

Village of Montesquiou

Geese in Montesquiou

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Mirande is a beautiful fortified bastide in south Gers, in the heart of Astarac. It dates back to the 13th century. It is the capital of the comté of Astarac. Explore the remains of the fortifications, the metallic structured hall, its small belltower and its market. There is a 14th century monumental gothic style church and its very typical porchThe Musée des Beaux-Arts et des Arts Décoratifs (Arts museum) displays a beautiful collection of paintings and faience (pottery and chinaware). It should please children thanks to an ingenious fun-book called "Find the little beast"... After a walk in the beautiful small, steep streets around the square, have a drink. During summer Ludina (15,000m2 of greenery and 800m2 of aqua-fun) has sporting activities and a snack area for all the family. In Mirande, find the “Centre d'Initiatives pour l'Environnement” (fr) (Environment centre), which organises educational activities all year. 

Mirande obtained the International Label “Cittaslow” (town of good living), for its 'human face of urbanism', placing the individual at the centre of economic and tourist development.

Guide du Gers in Mirande: The Best Tips

  • Like in all towns and villages in the balcony of the Pyrenees, Mirande has a wonderful 3 hectares of water, perfect for walking round and for fishing
  • Passionate about country music, line dancing and guitar riffs? Every year, in mid July, a Country Festival takes place in Mirande.  There are four days of concerts, dancing, folk music, cowboy hats, music bands, artisans and beautiful motorbikes... 
  • In summer, discover the Baïse by canoe, a peaceful wooded river!
  • At the beginning of April the Salon du Livre Jeunesse (junior book show) takes place.

Mirande, centre ville

Hall de Mirande


Masseube will delight nature enthusiasts. In the south of Gers, Piedmont of the Pyrenees, is a haven of calm and good living. The countryside round Astarac if full of beautiful castles (privately owned) vibrant sunflower fields (in the summer) and many bodies of water. It is a great place to walk, fish, go horse riding... Half-timbered houses and corbellings, picturesque streets, halls, churches with 3 naves, can all be seen... Masseube and its 1,600 habitants, warmly welcome you. 

Guide du Gers in Masseube: The Best Tips

  • Near Masseube is Montlaur-Bernet, the highest point in the departement at 380 metres.
  • Explore Gimone Lake, heading south, its blue waters are surprising. 
  • The autumn is a nice season to visit Masseube, the sunshine is remarkable!  
  • Masseube is listed “Station Verte de Vacances” (Green resort is a national label for tourist destinations located in a protected environment with leisure activities). 

Masseube, the balcony of the Pyrenees

Hal-timbered houses in Masseube