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Located in the heart of Gascony, the Gers contains hilly and luminous landscapes. The land of d'Artagnan and the musketeers, on the roads to Santiago de Compostela, leads to the discovery of its rich heritage and gastronomy. Among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Auch Cathedral with its beautiful carved wooden stalls and remarkable 16th century stained glass windows, and Saint-Pierre Collegiate Church in La Romieu, also called "the cat village" because many felines are present on windows, doors, ox's eyes, etc. The Gers has thirteen bastides, the most representative of which are Fleurance, Saint-Clar, Montréal and Solomiac, and six of the most beautiful villages in France, such as the fortified citadel of Larressingle or the circular village of Fourcès. Eauze has a rich historical past and its Andalusian style arenas are home to bullfights and Landes cow races. Lectoure is adorned with a belt of ramparts from which emerge old private mansions, thermal baths and imposing monuments. This is where we grow the incomparable blue pastel. In summer, many lakes and leisure centres offer the opportunity to practice water sports. The destination is known throughout France for its Nogaro car circuit, its Jazz festival in Marciac and its gastronomy, with the famous Armagnac and the Floc de Gascogne at the top. It is also the land of foie gras, very tasty farm poultry, beef from Gascony with tender and juicy meat, melon from Lectoure or apple crunch. To your tourist guides!
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When to go Gers ?
When to go to the Gers? One could say almost all year round because the weather in the Gers is quite pleasant even if it rains more in winter. Summer is still the best period and it is of course the busiest in terms of attendance. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy to find accommodation at very reasonable prices. Tourists are rather lovers of nature, calm, tranquility, the art of good living and eating well. The Gers is festive and many events are often of an original nature. Every second weekend in May, Condom lives to the rhythm of the European Bandas y Peñas festival. In August, the municipality hosts the Gascon puck world championships, a game typical of the region. The first fortnight of August, Jazz à Marciac attracts an audience that goes far beyond the borders of the department, it is the only time during the summer when it is very difficult to stay for miles around. Classical music lovers will enjoy the Nuits musicales en Armagnac, which take place at the end of July and beginning of August in the cathedrals of Condom and Lectoure, at Flaran Abbey and in the church of Terraube. Not to be missed either at the beginning of August, the Fleurance Astronomy Festival with courses, conferences and stargazing. At the beginning of September, the Nogaro Grand Prix Automobile, on the Paul Armagnac circuit, is one of the major events in the department. The Gers is also a land of ferias. In Eauze, the first weekend of July, there is a novillada without picador, a bullfight and a Landes race as well as a big celebration throughout the village. In mid-September, Toros & Vinos de Vic-Fezensac is a must between novillada pricked in the arenas, bullfighting market and producersRead more
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The Gers, gastronomy and medieval atmosphere on the road to Santiago de Compostela
Marciac, jazz invites itself into the Gers
A strong cultural identity emerges from this foothill landscape, closely linked to its history. Born from the formation of the Pyrenees, the hills and valleys of the Gers were inhabited very early. The Romans brought with them the cultivation of the vine and the method of preserving the confit. The Vascons imported their traditions, their language and the still. The wars for the unification of France created a territory of castles and fortified villages. The Wars of Religion left a bloodless and scarred country. It was not until the 19th century that the Gers began to take a more peaceful path. The ancient Gascony cultivates its fertile lands, raises geese and ducks and watches over its barrels of Armagnac. It keeps its joyful folklore and its singing language alive during lively festivals. But it also offers a pastoral and bucolic face that the filmmaker Étienne Chatiliez summed up as follows: "Happiness is in the meadow."
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The 12 keywords Gers
A new ecosystem is developing in Auch and in the east of the department. Aeronautical equipment manufacturers and subcontractors have chosen the Gers to set up their factories, which supply the neighbouring giant Airbus. The number of specialised companies has multiplied over the last ten years to become the second industrial force in the department.
Sunflowers cover the valleys in a fan shape in the north, while corn drinks from the Pyrenean gaves in the south. In summer, the plots form a colourful patchwork like a Van Gogh painting. Responsible, the farmers of Gers are more and more numerous to operate an organic conversion. Not content with being beautiful, the Gers is often organic.
In Occitania, the bastide is a new town built according to an orthogonal plan, around a central square surrounded by arcades. It dates back to a period between 1222 and 1373, which corresponds to a great demographic and urban expansion. The bastide responds to an original political project, based on the equality and autonomy of the inhabitants.
It is undoubtedly the king of the Gascon gastronomy. The Gersois, these fine cooks, are masters in the art of preparing all the pieces. Stuffed neck, livers in terrine, pâté, sausage and sausage, confit, pan-fried or dried duck breast, roasted aiguillettes, carcass broth, fat fritons, parsley hearts... Let's eat!
The IGP Côtes-de-Gascogne is one of the most famous appellations of the Gers. The vineyards, planted in the west and north of the department, extend into the Landes and Lot-et-Garonne. The white wines, lively and often tinged with notes of exotic fruits, dominate the production and are also the first in their category in France
The Gersois feels first of all Gascon. His territory extends from the south of the Garonne to the Pyrenees, with the exception of the Basque Country. Gascony fell into the hands of the Duke of Aquitaine in 1063. As a result, some people think that the Gascon is backward-looking. Others admire the tenacity of this people who have managed to preserve their culture over the centuries.
Catholic land, crossed by pilgrimage routes, the Gers has five cathedrals: Auch and its majestic stained glass windows, Lectoure and its bell tower, Condom and its imposing choir, Eauze and its double nave. Almost all of them were built on the remains of very old churches dating back to the 3rd century.
8. Marché au gras
From November to March, five towns host a fat market: Eauze, Fleurance, Seissan, Gimont and Samatan. Local producers gather in the market hall to offer fresh livers and duck carcasses. The locals come early to get the best livers, which should be chosen neither too firm nor too soft.
With its rounded relief, the Gers praises slowness. It can be discovered on foot or by bike. Following the two pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, hikers are numerous from spring to autumn. The roads, which are not too busy, and the mountain bike routes also make it a paradise for cyclists.
A good Gersois tackles, kicks, frames, overflows and flattens. From an early age, boys and girls learn to play the oval ball. Each village has its own pitch and lives to the rhythm of the match sheets. During the Six Nations Tournament, the cafés fill up and everyone gets together to lift the team to glory.
From Barbotan-les-Thermes, Castéra-Verduzan and Lectoure spring steaming waters whose virtues are often known since Antiquity. Today, these resorts are transformed to welcome people in search of relaxation. Thermal cures but also wellness massages, spas, indoor swimming pools allow you to create a cocoon of softness.
12. French Tuscany
A piedmont region, the Gers is crisscrossed with rolling hills that are adorned by proud cypress trees from far and wide. This is probably why Stendhal called the Lomagne the "French Tuscany". Or is it because of the town of Fleurance? Its founder, Eustache de Beaumarchais, named it after the city of Florence.
You are from here, if...
You greet your interlocutor with an adishatz pronounced in a strong and proud way. The Occitan term is used to say hello as well as goodbye.
You have a sense of celebration: after rugby training, during the rugby match (on TV), after the rugby match, on St Martin's Day, St John's Day, St Mary's Day, St Glinging's Day... any occasion is good to get together, have a drink, sing and dance.
Ifyou are a man, you like to party with other men, if you are a woman, you like to party with other women. But we reassure you, everyone gets together at village or family parties.
You like culinary oddities. Duck heart, duck neck, beret (pork belly), pork lung are the delights of Gers gastronomes.
You are over 100 years old. The Gers is the third French department in terms of the number of centenarians and the second oldest department, with a life expectancy of 82.6 years. The Gers keeps.