Fortified Gascony in the Gers
JUNE 20-29, 2022
JULY 4-13, 2022 Sold Out
JULY 18-27, 2022 Sold Out
These are small group tours for no more than 6 people.
Gascony is bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, the east by Toulouse, the north by Bordeaux and the south by the Pyrenees Mountains. The heart of this land lies in the Gers department, possibly the most beautiful nowhere you’ll ever see.
During the summer months, white clouds languish in clear blue skies above rows of golden yellow sunflowers, and emerald green vineyards that stretch to the horizon. The Gers is the perfect place to experience a taste of tradition imbued with modern sensibilities.
Since the love of good food and community is at the heart of French village life, there is no better way to step into the rhythm of a country day than through the marketplace where locals gather to shop and share stories.
There are farmers’ markets every day of the week in different villages offering dazzling displays of seasonal produce and tantalizing delicacies for us to choose from.
We’ll visit family-run wineries that preserve their connection to the land to learn the fine points of local varietals for a better understanding of how winemaking is central to this region’s way of life.
We’ll tour Armagnac distilleries, France’s oldest brandy. made and enjoyed since the fourteenth century. We’ll wander through medieval villages steeped in history, take photographs, enjoy coffee and croissants in local cafés, and take lunch at charming restaurants offering outstanding rural, yet innovative cuisine.
Sometimes we’ll go to night markets, other times to antique or pottery markets. We’ll join in festivals and visit artists’ studios, and we may even enjoy a pastry class or learn the ancient art of bleu de pastel fabric dyeing.
Most importantly, we will honor the serendipity of interesting experiences along the way and respect everyone’s individual pace and need for personal time.
Éauze is the capital of the Bas Armagnac region and offers one of the liveliest and largest agricultural markets in the Gers. The market takes place along the ring of the old town under the plane-tree canopied, Place d’Armagnac. We will stroll through the market and sit under the shade of a plane tree canopy at Le Divan Café in the village square for coffee and croissants. Our lunch will be served on the intimate terrace of the Henri IV Restaurant. After dining we will have a tour of the Armagnac distillery, Domaine de Lagajan, family run for 11 generations.
The village of Lectoure, once inhabited by the Counts of Armagnac, the great territorial lords, has a patrician air about it, visible in the grandeur of its lovely stone buildings. Lectoure is known for growing the sweetest melons in the region and one-third of all of the garlic in France. We will meander down Lectoure’s one long main street during market day, stopping on the way at Maison Baudequin Chocolaterie to savor hot chocolate delicious enough to rival the famous hot chocolate at Angelina’s in Paris. or sample Anne-Marie’s divine, homemade ganache truffles
For adventurous early risers, we will go to a vide-grenier, French country antique and flea market or alternatively there will be the opportunity to stay at your hotel. We will gather to tour the 12th-century Cistercian, Abbaye de Flaran just outside the village of Valence-sur-Baïse. For lunch we will drive to the village of Larresingle, and have lunch at the Auberge de Larressingle, just below France’s smallest 13th century fortified village. After lunch we’ll tour Larresingle, then cross over the Auzoue River by way of a 15th century stone bridge and enter Fourcès, considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is a perfect ensemble of medieval houses with sheltered arcades below.
We will depart for Blagnac airport in Toulouse.
10 days, 9 nights.
$3,995.00 per person