Focus on Gers
Gers is one of the unspoilt parts of France and is not the best known tourism attraction, which perhaps makes it an attraction! The birthplace of one of the "Three Musketeers "d'Artagnan", another claim to fame is that the Gers hosts the World Championship Snail Race! The area is beautiful with lush countryside
Gers (32) is named after the Gers River which is a tributary of the Garonne. Gers was created from the provinces of Guyenne and Gascony that existed prior to the French Revolution and is one of the original 83 departments created due to the re-organisation of France as a result of the revolution. Auch is the capital of Gers.
Gers, the ancient Gascony was the home of the nine tribes called Novempoporlania the original Roman colony.
The Gers Language is Gascon, a dialect of Occitan and the inhabitants are called Gersois. L’occitan, otherwise known a langue d’Oc, is spoken in 32 departments of Southern France, 12 of the valleys of the east Italian Alpes Piémontaises and in the Val d’Aran in Spain.
Many of the towns in Gers are "Bastides" which were created in the 12th to 14th centuries to replace those lost due to war. The towns all followed the same design with a central market square and streets running off this in a "grid" type format.
One Gers specialities is Cassoulet. This is a version of "Bean Crock" and is delicious. Cooked in a dish like a "crock" it is made from haricot beans only with goose fat, herbs, stock, onions and garlic plus salt and pepper and has things like sausages and garlic sausage added it half way through the cooking. Foie Gras is another famous product of Gers.
Gers is famous for Armangnac which is the smoothest of Brandies. There is an aperitif Floc which is a mixture of Armangnac and grape juice. Some of the wines from the area are Madiran, a red which perfectly accompanies meats and Côtes des Gascogne which is produced as red, white or rose.
So close to the Spanish border the Spanish influence is strong, Vic-Fezensac is a location where bull fights take place and at the end of May there is a festival of bull fighting in the "Corrida" - bull ring.
For the more faint hearted, Gers is alive with music festivals and Jazz in particular. Vic Fezensac is the venue for the Le festival Tempo Latino held at the end of July.
May is a busy month as in the town of Condom there is the Le Festival Européen de Bandas y Peñas de Condom, which is the biggest brass band festival in Europe.
The main towns of Gers are:
Auch - is known for a beautiful cathedral which has red and gold windows, famous for catching the suns rays and glowing.
Condom is the place where Armagnac is produced and has a museum dedicated to the brandy
Eauze is said to be the birthplace of Armagnac but other places claim this honour
Lectoure is famous for its pastels and also for melon production
Samatan has a nearby lake where many water sports such as windsurfing, sailing and canooing take place. It has a Museum of Foie Gras and a Market is held each Monday.
Vic-Fezensac - the place to go for parties and music. Very popular with musicians Very lively.
is surrounded by forests and there are 70 pistes available plus the proximity of La Mongie ski station.