Fourcès in the Gers department is officially one of the prettiest villages in France. With medieval arcades, beautiful walkways, quirky shops and several restaurants, it’s a fabulous place to while away a few hours admiring its beauty. Here’s what to see in Fourcès…
What to see and do in Fourcès
“It is” said my guide proudly, “the only town in France to have a round square”.
As you enter the town of Fourcès, you can’t help but stop in your tracks as you cross over the 15th century stone bridge. Under it flows the gentle fish-filled Ruisseau de Lauzoue river, a tributary of the mighty Garonne. As you look up the round square, Place des Cornières, is directly in front of you. Plane trees line a central walkway that cuts across it. Around it are half timbered houses and a medieval arcaded walk. It’s fairy tale pretty, as if your dream of the most beautiful little country town in France had come to life.
When I went on an early morning in early December, there was hardly a soul to be seen. The sun shone, and the shadows of the plane trees spread across the square. In summer it’s popular with petanque players, and hosts concerts and parties. “There are weekend flea markets too through spring and summer. And, the flower market on the last weekend of every April is very beautiful” sighs Emmanuelle the guide from Condom tourist office. People in these parts are seriously proud of their region. But, that morning the only action was at the town’s main shop on the edge of the square. Everything else was sensibly closed until later in the day.
A town for all seasons
There was once a castle on the round square, in this round fortified town. Built in the 11th century, it has long gone. Another castle “new”, built in the 15th century is now a hotel, but in a different location. A 13th century clock tower remains, and there are many old houses dating from the 13th to the 18th century.
Fourcès is a town that’s made for dawdling. Secret walkways and cobbled streets with vine covered walls. Plants and flowers trickle from boxes in windows and at doorways. On the last Sunday of June each year, the town holds a painters day with exhibitions and workshops. In the summer, jazz fills the air as performers from the famous Marciac Jazz festival take a turn in the round square. Amongst other events, a book market, classical music and parties are held here. For a tiny town with just 300 residents, the social calendar is remarkably full.
The medieval arcades are home to restaurants and on sunny days, tables under the arches offer welcome shade. There are arts and crafts galleries and quirky boutiques, antique shops and B&Bs. Waking up here must be like dreaming you were in a film, opening the curtains and finding you’re still on set.
Emmanuelle leads us across the round square, past the plane trees and through an arched walkway to the edge of the town. “Look up on the wall of that old house and you’ll see a face” she says. And, once our eyes were adjusted we could see a small head of a man with an open mouth, a mystery as no one knows who he is. You’d never see it without someone pointing it out. Cameras click as we stroll, every street is a photo opp.
With its quaint cafés and lovely restaurants, there’s plenty of scope for taking a break.
This is a most beautiful part of France – perfect for those who love history, good food, friendly folk, utterly gorgeous towns and idyllic countryside. In fact within close distance you’ll find Larressingle, Montrèal with its Roman remains, La Romieu, Lavardens with its beautiful castle and Sarrant. This is heavenly touring country indeed.
Find out what’s on and book a one hour guided tour directly at the tourist office in Condom, 15 minutes away by car:
Office de Tourisme de la Ténarèze, 5 place Saint Pierre, 32100 CONDOM www.tourisme-condom.com
Join a watercolour workshop in Fourcès. You don’t have to be a painter to enjoy it, it’s for all levels including total beginner! Details: FrenchCountryAdventures