What to see and do in Auch, Gers

Written by on January 18, 2020 in Midi-Pyrénées

Statue of the musketeer D'Artagnan in the city of Auch, Gers, France

Located to the South West of Toulouse on the River Gers, Auch is the capital of the Gers department and the historical capital of Gascony.

One of the best way to explore towns and cities is just follow your nose and get lost. But, there was much to find out about Auch before doing that. So, I headed straight for the Tourist Office to book a tour of the town and lucky for me, Raphaelle Lequai the Communication Officer for the Gers region was willing to show off this lovely town.

Best things to do in Auch

Auch Cathedral

Wooden cherubs in the Cathedral of Auch, Gers

Start your visit at the cathedral, on the UNESCO listed route to Compostela. Building began in 1489 but it took nearly two centuries to complete. The oak stalls are a must see – over 1500 characters are represented and last time they were used, it was for the wedding of a member of the Dutch royal family. The stained glass windows by Arnaut de Moles are fabulous.

Towers and staircases

Street lined with half timbered houses and old buildings now shops in Auch, GersFrom the cathedral head to the Tour d’Armagnac, a former 14th century prison standing at over 40 meters high. Each of its seven floors formed a prison cell, they’re rather claustrophobic and I resisted the temptation to dally in case anyone was tempted to lock me in. These days it is the home of the Cathedral Treasure museum and houses over 200 objects of religious art.

Adjacent to the tower is The Great Staircase. 234 steps connect the two levels of the upper city from the cathedral down to the river Gers. From the top on a clear day, to the right you can see the Pyrenees in the distance and the green countryside of the Gers to the left. It’s easier to go down than up! Alongside the Grand Staircase are several sets of medieval stepped alleyways called the Pousteries. They lead down the River Gers which once enabled the inhabitants of the upper town to collect water.

On the second level of the staircase is a magnificent bronze statue of d’Artagnan gazing across the Gascogne landscape. Many think that d’Artagnan was a figure of fiction created by Alexander Dumas but he really existed. The Capitan of the Musketeers was born at the beginning of the 17th century in nearby Castelmore.

Shop, wine and dine in Auch

The town is a warren of streets with many shops and art galleries that are just perfect for exploring. And, there are plenty of places to take a break including the highly recommended Hotel de France.

This classic French hotel has a homely brasserie and more formal Grande Salle. Chef Vincent Casassus is renowned for his dishes. And, while you’re there you must try a glass of Floc de Gascogne – a wine fortified with Armagnac. If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out, it is robust but mellow and is available in both white and red. The slow cooked beef red wine with vegetables from the chef’s garden made my heart sing, helped along by a glass or two of 2012 Les Hauts De Bergelle, an AOC Saint Mont wine.

Coffee was served with a glass of the hotel’s own 20-year-old Armagnac, for this is Armagnac County. I drank it too quickly to form an opinion so had to have another one. It was good, very good.

Auch has everything you’d want from an authentic French town. Great views, a famous hero, enough monuments and historic buildings to keep everyone happy, a major circus festival (October), terrific shops and cafés and truly great Gascogne food and drink…

Practical information

Tourist office: www.auch-tourisme.com

More info on the area at: www.tourisme-gers.com; www.tourisme-occitanie.com

You can get to Auch from Paris by train via Toulouse.

Visit nearby Fourcès, a plus beaux village de France which looks like a medieval dream town and Larresingle, the smallest and prettiest fortified town in France…

Peter Jones is a photographer and freelance writer at: www.jonesphotos.co.uk

Related Articles

Discover Gorgeous Gers – Gascony

Take to the road in Gascony and discover some of its charms. From medieval villages, quirky museums and the most intoxicating gastronomy … The Gers –  Gascony The Gers, or Gascony some call it, is one of the most rural regions in all of France. You’ll find it in southwest France, just west of Toulouse. […]

Continue Reading

Secret Toulouse | The city’s unusual side

Discover secret Toulouse. The pink city as it’s known, thanks to the beautiful red brick buildings that fill its streets, is an absolute paradise for culture vultures… Colourful, cultural and captivating France’s 4th largest city has a multi-faceted personality. It’s famous for being home to Airbus headquarters, hosts satellite, space and aerospace industries and has […]

Continue Reading

What to see in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot Department

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot department in southern France, is a cliff hanger of a village – quite literally. Perched on a cliff top, the River Lot curls its way along the bottom of the limestone cliff. From the top, the canoeists and kayakers who paddle their way down look tiny. Here’s what to see in […]

Continue Reading

What to see in Rocamadour

What to see in Rocamadour

Written by on April 6, 2020 in Midi-Pyrénées

Rocamadour is a small clifftop village overlooking the Alzou Valley in the Lot, south-central France. In an area that’s brimming with outstandingly beautiful sites and towns including medieval time warp town Sarlat and the extraordinary Gouffre de Padirac, an underground cave where you can take a boat ride – Rocamadour more than holds its own. […]

Continue Reading

The very best guided tours of Aveyron

There are some places that are so special you have to pinch yourself to make sure they’re real and not a dream. Aveyron in southwest France is one of those places. It’s a land where you’ll step back in time and discover beauty on every corner. Pickled in the past, picture postcard pretty medieval villages, […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.