Villa | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 7
A very secluded French villa of about 350 years old set in the heart of the Gers countryside - total security and privacy assured as the property sits at the bottom of a single track lane. Built in a typical "colombage" style, the main house has 4 bedrooms of various sizes with the ability to sleep up to 7 people in comfort (more can be accommodated with a special request). Sitting on a plot of approx 1 and a 1/2 acres, the gardens are full of fruit trees (walnuts, damsons, cherries and figs), all of which you are welcome to pick and eat if they are in season when you arrive.
The extensive gardens also house the brand new outdoor pool (8m x 4m) which is a real delight on long hot summer days. If you feel like venturing further afield there are 3 beautiful local swimming lakes (popular with the French locals) within 20 mins or so.
Depending on the time of your arrival, local festivities include Jazz Festivals, Tempo Latino, day and night markets and local bullfighting (not for the faint-hearted!).
Beautiful countryside surrounds the area with almost 200 days of sunshine per year. Famous for it's vineyards, foie gras, duck dishes, superb restaurants and it's longevity of life (highest in the whole of France), please visit us and spend a wonderfully relaxing time indulging yourself.
|Size||Sleeps up to 7, 4 bedrooms|
|Will consider||Corporate bookings, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Access||Car advised, Wheelchair users|
|Nearest Amenities||2 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Toulouse 110 km, Nearest railway: Auch 38 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, TV, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 1 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (3), Double beds (2), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ|
|Access||Wheelchair users, Secure parking|
The Midi-Pyrenees region
The Gers is the central department of Gascony in the Midi-Pyrenees, located just north of the central Pyrenees and since Napoleon times has been named after the Gers river which runs north-south through the department. It is largely agricultural and is the least densely populated department in France.
The Gers is sometimes referred to as the French Tuscany because of its gently rolling hills and old villages, including many "bastides" or fortified towns. Gers is separated from the Pyrénées by Comminges and Bigorre and the scenery is of rolling hills and glacier formed flat valleys with views of the Pyrénées from the southern hills.
The towns and villages tend to be small and far apart and the local economy is mainly agricultural - vineyards, cereals, cattle, and of course, ducks and geese for the famous Gascony preserves, pâtés and particularly foie gras.
The Gers is one of the least densely populated départments in France and there is no heavy industry or autoroutes so consequently it has some of the cleanest air in all of Europe. It is therefore no surprise that Gascons live longer than any other people in France.
The cuisine of the south-west is deliciously rich and earthy. Despite the high fat content of the region's traditional dishes, the cuisine is widely recognised as contributing to a long life expectancy among Gersois. Poultry - chicken, turkey and guinea fowl, but particularly goose and duck - features in many regional dishes. In centuries past, most households would rear a handful of birds. Nothing would ever go to waste.
The liver – fois gras - was, and still is, one of the most prized parts, either cooked or simply marinated and eaten raw, while the fat often served as a substitute for butter. The breast–magret in the Gers but maigret elsewhere in France - is delicious when grilled. Alternatively, the breast and legs are covered in salt and left for some time before being oven cooked and then preserved in their own fat, making the flesh as soft as butter. This rich and flavoursome dish is known as confit.
The Gers produces some wine, the Madiran appellation, originally a wine used at Mass whose popularity grew due to the steady flow of pilgrims, and Côtes de Saint-Mont. However, the region is best known for its brandy. Armagnac was first 'invented' at the beginning of the 14th century in a part of Gascony of the same name.
Armagnac differs from Cognac, which is scorned locally as a cheap imitation of the real thing, in that it is distilled just once, rather than twice as in the case of the latter. Looking at a map, the area in which Armagnac is produced resembles a vine leaf, which is taken by some as sign that Armagnac was always meant for great things! Another local drink is Floc de Gascogne, a blend of wine and young Armagnac, usually served as an apéritif.
Where to go/What to see
Auch: The two main things to see in Auch are the Cathedral of Saint Marie (with beautiful carved choir stalls) and the staircase to the river with the statue of d'Artagnan half way down. Good market by the river on a Wednesday. Also Museums, Art Galleries, Shops and an 18 hole golf course just outside the town.
Condom - The capital of the Tenareze district, Condom is a favourite town of ours with great shops and a market on Wednesday. The Cathedral is beautiful inside and the Armagnac museum is well worth a visit.
It is a port on the river Baise and boat trips are available daily in the season.
La Romieu: An ancient ecclesiastical town with an imposing 14th century collegiate church. The main street has many hidden stone cats! Nearby, there is a famous arboretum.
Lavardens: A beautiful chateau set high on a hill, which has guided visits and frequent art exhibitions. There are night markets on Wednesdays during July and August. Their website www.chateaulavardens.com has information on their programme of events.
Larressingle: A 13th century fortified village, the smallest in France (the so-called Carcassonne of the Gers). The museum shows reconstructions of life in the Middle Ages and the Park Museum house medieval machines of war.
Lectoure: A Gallo-Roman city, famous for its melons, with many interesting buildings to see and several museums. It is on the St-Jacques-de-Compostella footpath. It has a thermal fitness centre.
Fources: The only circular walled bastide town in the Gers with a lovely castle nearby.
Valence-sur-Baise: A 12th century bastide village and river port. Nearby is the Abbaye de Flaran, a magnificent 12th century Cistercian abbey. There are three beautiful chateaux quite nearby; Busca-Maniban, Cassaigne and Montluc, the last of which in St. Puy is famous as the home of the lethal local aperitif known as Pousse Rapiere.
Marciac: A 13th century Gascon bastide town, famous for its terrific International Jazz Festival held here every August. Nearby are the fortified villages of Tillac and Monlezun.
Bassoues: Another pretty bastide village, with a 43metre high keep, a masterpiece of Gascon military art.
Montesequiou: A fortified village on the Route de Bastides through the Gers.
Mirande: The lovely square in this bastide town has a Country and Western festival each July. The cathedral is considered to be a Gothic masterpiece. There is also a museum of fine arts and decorative arts.
Montreal (incl Seviac): A 13th century Gascon bastide village. There is a Gallo-Roman museum with guided visits. Nearby is Seviac, a 4th century Gallo-Roman villa, which has been extensively excavated during recent years.
Saint Clar: A unique bastide town with two 13th century squares with arches. Famous garlic market selling white garlic from Lomagne.
Auch - Saturday and Thursday morning
Castera-Verduzan - Sunday morning
Condom - Wednesday
Eauze - Thursday (one of the best around)
Fleurance - Tuesday
Valence-sur-Baise - Wednesday morning (quite small)
Vic-Fezensac - Friday morning
What to Do
Golf: There is a beautiful, wooded 18 hole course at Eauze, which is the best in the area. There is also a lovely 9 hole course at Fleurance and another (hilly) 18 hole course at Auch (superb restaurant). Further afield (about 1 hrs drive) is Mont de Marsan- a fabulous course and not expensive during the week. Log on to www.golf-montdemarsan.org for more details.
Tennis: Courts are available at Gondrin, Eauze, Condom, Valence and Castera Verduzan.
Cycling: The Gers is ideal cycling country with many of the places listed being easily accessible by bicycle.
Horse Riding: Les Ecuries D'Armagnac near Valance-sur-Baïse offer riding lessons or hacks with an English guide, trips into the mountains, gastronomic excursions and much more. http://artemip.free.fr/artemip/gers.htm#Armagnac has information on bookings and prices.
Sking: Resorts in the Pyrenees are within 2 and a half hours drive.
Canoeing: At Beaucaire on the river Baïse you can take an escorted trip down to Valance and be returned by minibus.
Boat Trips: From Condom, you can travel to Valence each afternoon, with a special lunch excursion on Sundays in the season.
Wine Tasting: Many of the local producers welcome visitors and will both show you around and provide you with tastings of their products. Sample great wines from some of the best known local wine-growing areas (Tariquet, Buzet, Madiran, St. Mont and Monluc).
Cathedral, Museums, and Art Galleries: Auch and Condom provide the setting for most of the sites within the immediate area. Further afield are Toulouse, Agen and Lourdes.
Abbaye de Flaran: Flaran is famous within France for its architecture. Art Exhibitions are often held there.
Jazz at Marciac: During August the Jazz festival takes place, one of the best of its kind in the world with many internationally acclaimed artists (eg: Oscar Peterson, Winton Marsalis) appearing regularly.
Motor Racing at Nogaro: There are several meetings at the circuit every season. The Formula 3 events at Easter and in September are the highlights check for information at www.citaenet.com/nogaro