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

One day watercolour painting workshop in Gers

Enjoy a one day watercolour painting workshop in Fourcès, a Plus Beaux Village de France – officially one of the prettiest villages in France. In the heart of the Gers department, this isn’t a holiday experience that you’ll find in the tourist guides. But – that’s what makes it so special. Renowned teacher Ray Johnstone […]

Continue Reading

What to see in Fourcès Gers | Jewel of Gascony

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 […]

Continue Reading

The extraordinary village of Larressingle in Gers

When you enter the walled castle village of Larressingle in the Gers, which some call Gascony, you’d be forgiven for looking around to see if a knight in shining armour is lurking nearby. Or maybe  a Princess hanging out of a window at the ruined chateau. This place doesn’t just look like it has somehow […]

Continue Reading

Pastry class with a master chef in the Gers

If you have a sweet tooth and a yearning for learning how to make the most amazing French cakes – this pastry class with a master chef in Gers is perfect for you! Close to Auch, the capital of the Gers department, the little village of Vic-Fezenac has a surprise. On the outskirts, in his […]

Continue Reading

How to spend one day in Toulouse

Capital of the newly-reconfigured Occitanie region, la Ville Rose as Toulouse is affectionately called after the colour of its brickwork really needs far more time than one day. But if that’s all you have, here’s how to spend one day in Toulouse by a local. You’ll find it wont be enough though, and you’ll definitely […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

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

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top