Bandas Festival in Condom in June

Local bands compete in the Bandas Festival

Rolling Gers Countryside

Lake of Puydarrieux en route to the Pyrenees

Wine tasting at Le Domaine de Herrebouc

Wine maturing at Herrebouc

Jazz in Marciac

Live music at the night market in Vic Fezensac

Tempo Latino Festival in Vic Fezensac

Sunset over the lake at Mirande

Pimbat reservoir

Hugo on his morning walk

Ordan Larroque plant fair

Tempo Latino in full swing in the main street at Vic

Sunset through Pléhaut woods

Visitors enjoying the local market in Vic

Vines in the Gers

The entrance to the fortified village at Larressingle

Fourcès flower fair in June

Gascony was historically the region of France that covered most of the area to the South – West of a line between Bordeaux, Agen and Toulouse. Whilst the name Gascony was officially abandoned following the French Revolution, the name is still used to describe this beautiful and historic area and the Gers Department is firmly associated with Gascony. A wonderful region to explore, it is an area of quiet, rolling countryside, fields of Sunflowers, attractive villages and unspoilt market towns – a region seeped in history and bathed in sunshine where the local towns come alive with music, markets and colour in the summer months. With its low population density and high quality of life, this is the land of local cheeses, confit de canard, wine and Floc de Gascogne and, of course, Armagnac. We provide plenty of information about places to visit and things to do, but here are a few of our favourites:

  • Exploring the Château grounds and local countryside - with the help of family, friends and workaways, foot paths are being established through the Pléhaut woods and guests are free to explore the wide range of birds and wild flowers found in and around the woods. There are plenty of walks, along the River Baïse, to the nearby Pimbat reservoir, to Château de Herrebouc or following the disused railway embankment to the source of the Pléhaut stream for example. The house is a perfect location to discover the countryside by bike with unlimited cycle rides from the house.
  • Music festivals abound in the Gers in the Summer – from Bandas in Condom, to Jazz in Marciac and the fantastic Latin and Afro – Cuban music festival, Tempo Latino, in nearby Vic Fezensac.
  • For history lovers – the Roman Villa de Seviac  is a must see as is the Abbaye de Flaran, founded in 1151 and  just 15 minutes away by car. Information regarding the Abbaye de Flaran and various other historical sites of interest and museums in the Gers is available here.
  • The pilgrim paths to Santiago de Compostela in North West Spain cross the Gers, with 2 of the 4 French routes going through the department. Known in English as the ‘Way of Saint James’, this is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. The routes are popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and pass through some of the larger towns of the Gers including Auch, Condom and Lectoure.
  • There are too many attractive and interesting villages and small towns to mention them all but 4 villages (all within a 30 minute drive) are mentioned in the list of ‘ Most beautiful Villages of France’. These are Fourcés (our particular favourite) with its unique round village ‘square’ and flower market in April; the medieval bastide town of Montréal-du-Gers with its beautiful town square; Larressingle, the smallest fortified village in France and known as the Little Carcassonne of the Gers (it is very small!) and Lavardens built on a hilltop with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside and known for its castle (which holds regular art exhibitions), church and summer night markets.
  • Auch, the capital of the Gers, has an attractive medieval centre and the Cathedral Saint - Marie, is a UNESCO site as part of the aforementioned ‘Worldwide Heritage on the roads to Compostella’. Condom, only 20 minutes away by car, is a favourite town of ours for its ambience and with its beautiful cathedral and cloisters, riverside park, bars and restaurants it is a great place for a stroll and a meal. The market town of Fleurance, Lectoure with its quirky antiques stalls in the old hospital and La Romieu with its impressive collegiate church and tower and arboretum at the gardens of Coursiana are all well worth a visit.
  • There are weekly markets in most local towns and it is possible to attend a market every day of the week, should you so wish! In the Summer months most towns and villages hold fetes and vide greniers (empty attic street markets).
  • A short drive from Pléhaut will take you to the swimming lakes at Castera Verduzan and Lupiac (also the home of D’Artagnan!) with their sandy beaches, cafes and (at Castera) slides and diving platform. Thermal Spas are available at Castera Verduzan, Lectoure and Barbaton les Thermes.
  • Last but not least, the Gers is famous for its Armagnac and many opportunities for wine and Armagnac tasting are available nearby. Examples include the very local (a 30 minute walk/less than 5 minute drive!) and very friendly Domaine de Herrebouc where a range of lovely organic wines can be sampled whilst learning how they are produced; Château de Monluc, famous for its Pousse Rapiere liqueur, the unique recipe of which is a closely guarded secret, and which, when blended with sparkling dry white wine creates the delicious Pousse Rapière cocktail and Château de Cassaigne with its 30 hectares of vines producing Côtes de Gascognes and Armagnac.

This is just a small sample of the activities to explore in the Gers….there is also relaxing, of course, with a book and a glass of wine by the pool…..

Mike Charlton and Christine Noah,

Château de Pléhaut

3832 Route de Condom,

32190 St Jean Poutge,

Gers,

France

chateau location

0044 (0) 7530 542873 (UK mobile)

0033 (0)5 62 66 09 93 (English spoken)

lechateaudeplehaut@gmail.com

For directions click here

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