Beautiful medieval villages
For a small department, the Gers harbours quite a few official ‘Most beautiful villages in France’, and two of them are only 5km from the house! Fourcès, with its distinctive round 'square', and Montréal-du-Gers, a traditional bastide town founded by Alphonse de Poitiers on the site of a previous roman settlement.
Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac
This exceptional archaeological site just outside of Montréal-du-Gers was discovered in the 19th century. A Gallo-Roman villa dating from the 4th – 5th century, it boasts splendid mosaics and sumptuous thermal baths. The site is open for visits every day. To complete your visit, head to the museum in the village of Montréal itself, where several mosaic panels as well as other artefacts excavated from the villa are displayed. Perhaps combine with lunch in this pretty bastide town.
The circular bastide of Fourcès
The charming village of Fourcès is only 5km away. Half timbered houses surround the village square, which is acutally round. A castle once stood in the middle but has been replaced by plane trees, providing some welcome shade in the summer sun. Fourcès has a restaurant, cafe, small general store and a couple of places that sell delicious local produce.
Visit a pocket sized Carcassonne!
The tiny fortified town of Larressingle is a lovely little fortified town that can be only accessed on foot. Outside of the fortifications there are a few houses, a restaurant and the reconstruction of a medieval encampment complete with typical weaponry such as trebuchets and catapults. Larressingle is only about 10 minutes drive away.
Balarin is in one of the best Armagnac areas. Visit a local château and discover that it is also a great area for wine by tasting a few along with the armagnac! There are plenty to discover in the nearby vicinity. Armagnac is sold under the appellations XXX (less than 2 years), VSOP (4 years), and Napoleon (5 years or more). Or try the aperitifs based on Armagnac: sweet Floc de Gascogne (red or rosé) and La Belle-Sandrine, made with passion fruit.
The town of Condom
The town’s name (which might seem unusual to English-speakers!) is derived from the word ‘condatomagus’, meaning old gallic market. It lies on the river Baïse along one of the main pilgrimage routes to Saint Jacques de Compostelle (Santiago de Compostela). Don’t miss the impressive Cathedral St. Pierre. The town also has an Armagnac museum, where you can learn all about the history and production of this renowned regional spirit.
Shop at the market
Head to Condom on a Sunday morning and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the weekly market. Buy some tasty produce to take back to the property for an al fresco lunch.
Roman ruins at Eauze
At Eauze, you can discover an archaeological treasure: the remains of the Roman settlement of Elusa. Named after the ancient local tribe, the Elusates, the town was an important administrative and religious centre for the region between the 3rd and 7th centuries. You can start at the visitors' centre in Eauze's old railway station, and continue by exploring the 3000m² site itself.
Abbaye de Flaran
This is an old 12th century Cistercian abbey and one of the most visited attractions in the Gers region. In the summer, concerts take place at the Abbaye, dubbed 'Les Nuits Musicale.
The renowned thermal resort of Barbotan is about 30 minutes from the house. You can go and relax for an hour or two in their heated pool with jacuzzi and hamman, or treat yourself to a massage.
Family fun at Lac de l'Uby
This lake in Barbotan-les-Thermes, near Cazaubon, offers water activities including pedalos, canoeing and row boats, and fishing. On land there is mini-golf, boules, table tennis and children’s play equipment. Set in grounds of 6 hectares which can be explored on foot or by bike; take a picnic or buy refreshments on site. There is also a sandy beach and an outdoor swimming pool with waterslides. The water park is open June to September, whilst the other activities are available from 1st April to mid October.
Messing about on the river
Canoes can be hired on the river Baïse, at Beaucaire-sur-Baïse, whilst motorised boats can be hired at the harbour Condom.
Go for a round of golf at the Golf de Guinlet, just north of Eauze (approx 20 min drive). The 5675m course has 18 holes, par 70 overall.
Anyone for fishing?
Keen anglers can try their hand on the fishing lakes at Castelnau-d'Auzan (about 20 mins drive) or Barbotan-les-Thermes lake (30 mins). There are other activities at both places to entertain other members of the family who may not be able to sit still for very long!
Parc Walibi at Roquefort, near Agen
Water rides, tropical forest, corkscrew etc... Open every day from mid June to end August. Open weekends only in May, June and September. About a 50min drive from the house. More info at www.parcagen.fr
'Jazz in Marciac' is a very famous jazz festival that takes place in Marciac every year from around 20th July to 20th August. Marciac is a little over an hour's drive away. More information at www.jazzinmarciac.com.
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