To find the authentic France of your dreams, head to the Gers region, AKA Gascony. It is a land of rolling hills, forests and lakes, of vineyards and countryside dotted with castles. It’s a land of picturesque medieval villages and historic cities, where street markets are a way of life, and the folk are friendly. It’s a land of the most incredible gastronomy where it’s possible to eat yourself to a standstill, safe in the knowledge you can work off the calories with activities galore including horse riding, cycling, sailing and hiking amongst much else. The Gers is authentically, quintessentially French, and irresistibly lovely.
Champagne House, Condom
And you’ll need somewhere special to stay to experience all these wonders and we know just the place. Champagne House Condom is one of the, if not the, most lovely Chambre d’hotes, B&B, in the Gers. Walk in off the street through the imposing taupe-coloured doors to discover a majestic 18th century 4-storey town house.
Hosts Dale and Martin Proctor are Champagne fans – hence the name, and their passion for the fizz is evident, from the welcome glass on arrival to the Champagne themed rooms that are so beautifully and elegantly decorated they wouldn’t be out of place in a five-star hotel in Paris (though there they would cost you much, much more).
This boutique-style, beautifully restored stone house is light and airy, with roomy rooms that feature original character features from marble fireplaces, a cantilever stone staircase, and parquet floors. The library has a hidden bar, the elegant salon has a grand piano, and the courtyard in French/Moroccan style, is just about perfect for aperitifs and al fresco dining. The bedrooms have evocative names like the Rose Moët Suite and the Pommery Room. All of them are luxury ensuite rooms, the bathrooms have gorgeous clawfoot baths. The décor is soft, elegant and designed to cocoon you.
It may be hard to tear yourself away… but there’s plenty to do and see in the town and around, including a microlight ride which offers a birds eye view of the gorgeous chateaux in the area.
What to see and do in Condom and around
The Cathedral city of Condom is in the heart of the Gers, dominated by the Flamboyant-Gothic Cathedral of Saint-Pierre. There’s plenty to do in the town, through which the famous pilgrim walk Saint Jaques de Compostella passes, from boat rides on the river Baïse to hot air balloon rides, restaurants galore, streets whose buildings reflect the town’s rich heritage, and a twice weekly market. This area is famous for its Four Musketeers connection and there is an impressive statue of the swashbuckling heroes at the foot of Condom Cathedral.
Nowhere in the Gers is far from Condom, it’s one of the smallest departments in France at around 60 miles long and 60 miles wide – but there’s a lot to enjoy. There are no less than six Plus Beaux Villages – officially the most beautiful villages in France including Fourcès, which boasts an unusual, round bastide and Larressingle, the smallest fortified village in France, roughly the size of a football pitch. The lovely medieval Château de Lavardens houses an art collection in a fine medieval chateau. And the capital of the Gers, Auch is a must see for its stunning cathedral which has exquisitely carved choir stalls.
Be prepared to eat well! The Gers is authentically farm to table. It’s a culinary heartland comprising a cornucopia of free-range poultry, goose and duck foie gras, confit, paté, pink and white garlic, earthy mushrooms, tender asparagus, ripe tomatoes, sweet plums, and succulent melons. Great food here is a way of life. And the wines are fabulous. Though not well known, the Gers is becoming a bit of a wine hotspot with some of the finest white, red, and rosé craft wines in France. And then there’s the Armagnac. France’s oldest brandy has been produced in the Gers since the 14th century.
Book a room, the house, a weekend, a retreat…
The Champagne House is the perfect B&B, but you can also rent the whole house. There are also photography and writing retreats held here – the perfect place for inspiration, as well as luxury weekends, themed visit such as elegant hen parties with activities.
Be warned – you may never want to leave…
Find more details and book your stay at champagnehouse.fr