Gascony is a land of gently rolling hills. A bucolic place where the sun shines most of the time, lighting up the walls of chateaux and mellow stone buildings in picturesque villages. The heart of Gascony is the department of the Gers, where for centuries the landscape has enchanted those who visit. If you want to know real France, then taking one of the best guided tours of Gascony with a local expert will lead you to the sort of villages that look as they did hundreds of years ago and where life is authentic and delicious…
One of the most famous sons of Gascony is the Musketeer d’Artagnan. A romantic and dashing character, he personifies the history of this beautiful part of France. Not surprising then to learn that Gascony is a place of bastides, fortified villages, historic and breath-takingly beautiful gems.
“The village of Lectoure has a patrician air about it, visible in the old grandeur of its lovely stone buildings” says local tour guide and expert Sue Aran of French Country Adventures. “One of the loveliest of these bastides“ she adds “is Larresingle, the smallest medieval village in France”.
Guided tour of Gascony
Sue has devised a tour of Gascony that’s perfect for food, wine, culture, history, art lovers and more. Her Fortified Gascony tour is about the most beautiful fortified villages, the wine, armagnac, food and culture of Gascony. As it’s a small group tour, limited to just 6 people, the itinerary can be tweaked to suit the group. But, Sue’s expert knowledge of the area will ensure that you really do experience the Gers and Gasony in a way few visitors are able to.
“At the markets you’ll discover heirloom vegetables, aromatic cheeses, pink garlic and wild mushrooms~” she says. “Succulent melons, duck confit, and Arcachon Bay oysters will tempt you – it’s authentic, rustic…”.
Her tours take in local, family-run wineries such as Pellehaut owned for four centuries by the Béraut family, as well as the Domaine de Lagajan, family run for 11 generations. You’ll visit the 12th century Armagnac distillery Domaine d’Ognoas which has the oldest working still in Gascony. Taste the region’s famous Pousse Rapiere, an orange flavoured Armagnac, and ruby red Floc de Gascogne (grape juice and Armagnac) at Chateau Monuc, they’re not sold outside of France but you’ll never forget them! And you’ll learn how wine making and Armagnac distilling is central to this region’s way of life.
Gascony’s glorious villages
Visit a town where the Romans settled, and Éauze, the capital of the Armagnac region. Stunning Nérac and the most beautiful medieval villages in Gascony are on the itinerary. Markets, vineyards and antiques shops galore including a whole village of antique stalls housed in the former chateau of the Counts of Armagnac. There are castles and historic monuments aplenty, from a museum dedicated to d’Artagnan, the famous musketeer and son of Gascony to the glorious Cathedral of Auch, the capital of the Gers. This small region is simply brimming with beautiful sights and ancient buildings.
Your charming hotel is in fact a castle hidden amount vineyards near the ancient town of Condom. You’ll dine at the most authentic restaurants each day, from castle bistros to historic inns. Meet the locals – chocolate makers and bakers, wine producers and cheese makers, sample Armagnac-soaked prunes and seasonal produce for a delicious taste of France at its very best.
If you’re after a real taste of real France then this wonderful tour of Gascony should definitely be top of your must-see list.
French Country Adventures run small group tours, with everything taken care so that all you have to do is love your dream holiday in Gascony.