Gascony offers the perfect antidote to a hectic and demanding modern life. Here the sunshine soothes, the azure blue skies uplift and the wonderful landscapes inspire.
Lying in South West France and spanning the area roughly between Toulouse and Bordeaux, Gascony enjoys a warm, sunny climate, with an average of two thousand hours of sunshine a year and Indian summers into October. Winter is often short and is generally always mild.
Though the area of Gascony includes the French department of Landes, generally speaking when people talk about Gascony they mean the départment of the Gers, with historic Auch at its centre and other significant towns such as Condom, Lectoure and Agen providing cultural hubs.
The area is characterised by its pretty bastide villages, many dating back to the middle ages.
The warm limestone with which many properties were built has lasted the test of time and leaves the region with an abundance of character stone houses. From village homes to large farm houses or the more opulent maison de maitres and châteaux, these properties exude history, character and charm.
These stone buildings lie among rolling vineyards and ancient forests, grassy valleys and mountain foothills. Farming is still the main industry in this sparsely populated region and vintage tractors can still be found trundling around the lanes.
The magnificent chain of the French Pyrenees provides a stunning backdrop to the Gers as well as offering the chance to ski at multiple resorts, including those in easily accessible Andorra and Spain.
As well as mountains, Gascony offers the wonderful Atlantic coastline within a couple of hours’ drive, with the vibrant towns of Biarritz and San Sebastien and the port city of Bordeaux all offering a change of scene.
The Gascon region has a real focus on gastronomy with duck and foie gras being specialities. One can eat exceptionally well whether dining on the menu du jour at small local cafés or indulging in a menu dégustation at Michelin-starred restaurants. Rich mountain cheeses compliment the local wines from Madiran, Saint Mont and Côtes de Gascogne, and the dessert of croustade is not to be missed!
The sweeping vineyards of the region also produce grapes for the region’s Armagnac brandy and the delightful aperitif, Floc.
Numerous weekly food markets provide a rich bounty of local produce and provide a wonderful opportunity to soak up authentic local life.
Village fetes and festivals also provide a chance to enjoy rural French life. Summer night markets are a perfect chance to shop for local food and artisan wares on balmy summer evenings, or just to sit with a cool drink and people-watch as music wafts through the streets.
The beautiful city of Condom hosts the annual Festival des Bandas and Vic Fezensac is home to the annual Latin music festival, Tempo Latino. Marciac hosts a world-renowned Jazz festival attracting acts and visitors from across the globe.
The historic spa town of Lectoure, perched atop a hill with commanding views of the area, boasts a thermal resort and regularly hosts art and cultural exhibitions.
For those who love nature, the local wildlife adds a further dimension to life here. Birds of prey from kestrels to golden eagles decorate the skies, while exotic-looking hoopoes or European bee-eaters can be found in your garden.
Wild boar and several varieties of deer roam the forests and fields and there are even brown bears in the Pyrenees.
Good fishing can be had in local lakes and rivers, and cycling and horse-riding provide a great chance to see the countryside.
For those looking to escape the rush of modern life, owning a property in Gascony offers a chance to holiday or live full time among lush shades of green and crystal clean air, away from it all.
That said, the area is easily reached by train (TGV Paris to Agen), or via flights into several airports: Toulouse, Bordeaux, Pau and Bergerac. So come and see for yourself, and have a chat with us about the sort of property you might like to visit while you are here.