Auch, gascons and muskeeteers alors!

Let get back into deep France, the southwest is glorious ,it seems every town has a nice history and beautiful places to see. This one is no exception, and one of my favorites movie and historical hero has the only statue here. We are going to talk a bit about Auch.

Auch is a town in the southwest region of France, it is in the department of Gers no 32 in the region of Midi Pyrénées. It is part of the old province of Gasgogne that they still considered their historical capital. The river Garonne flows thru town on its way to Bordeaux.

To get to Auch, I use the car, the best way to travel on the N124 from Toulouse is glorious.  From the north you can take the N21 connectiong at Limoges with the A20 and onward to Paris.  Parking is better by the bridge coming into the old city from Toulouse,by the river Garonne at rue Massena ,for free!!! The route planner can give you ideas and you can ask me, www.viamichelin.co.uk There is a train station of course, TER part of the region Midi Pyrénées, at avenue Pierre Méndes, the line Auch Agen is working as well as that one from Toulouse. webpage http://www.ter-sncf.com/regions/midi_pyrenees/fr/default.aspx . The bus is at 7 place de la liberation, and the Alliance system takes care of you there, webpage http://www.alliance-bus.com/new/ There is a free bus on Saturdays and the bus Citadine facilitates travel in the old city area narrow streets.

The monument to must see there are the Cathedrale Sainte Marie, Préfecture du Gers or regional govt building, Pont de la Treille, Musée des Jacobins, Tour d’Armagnac, and the Escalier Monumental with the statue of D’Artagnan. Other sites that might be of interest to some are the Hôtel de Ville, Place Salinis, old college of Jesuites here since 1582AD, and the Cloitre or cloister of Cordelieres.

The Cathédral Sainte Marie d’Auch, is marvelous and worth seeing it along for coming here. The building is of three nave of 102 meters long (336.6 ft) and 35 meters wide (115.5 ft), 26 meters high at the nave and with towers of 44 meters(145 ft) . It was begun in July of 1489AD on the ruins of the roman Cathedral of  Savoie, sur les ruines de la cathédrale romane de Saint-Austinde, elle fut consacrée le 12 février 1548, mais deux siècles ont été nécessaires pour terminer sa construction. She has 21 Chapels, 8 big glass windows, and 115 stalls in wood of unknown artists; the organ is from 1694. Its imaginable for me to describe all that is inside, I must convince you to come and visit it, you wont regret it. Its gorgeous honor of the Virgen Mary.Pictures are not enough so Ihave taken to include this private webpage of Gilles Vidal here http://www.gillesvidal.com/saintemarie.htm

The Prefecture de Gers, is a marvelous building as it was the bishop’s residence since the 12C;  construction and improvement continue by many bishops until the architect of St Petersburg ,Russia a Frenchmen Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond and it was finally finish between  1750 and 1770. Gorgeous architecture.

The Pont de la Treille  was built between 1746 and 1750 and it let you cross the river Garonne just at the foot of the escalier monumental. This Escalier Monumental has 370 steps linking the high city or ville haute  to the lower city or ville basse ,dates from 1865 , and the best is the statue of D’Artagnan from 1931 ,the only one in France of the famous Captain of the Muskeeteers!  Around it you have the Tour d’Armagnac, previously call the tour des Archives archiépiscopales (old episcopal archives), tour d’Armagnac, built in the 14C was at the origin a prison annexed to the bishop’s palace .  The donjon or tower is 40 meters high (132 ft) and on top has a memory to the famous D’Artagnan. The gaols have been preserve on the prison and on the lower part three vaults en bedding ,and on the top part seven cells  with ceiling spread one by floor. You reach it by a staircase twisted.

The Musée des Jacobins, was founded by a decree of the revolutionary government in December 16, 1793. Original displays of art and painting were those taken from private homes by the revolutionaries.  In 1921 the museum is bequest the Latin American collections of  Guillaume Pujos. Later the Ethnography Gascon collection by Henri Polge were added after WWII. The museum was moved in 1979 to the old Convent of Jacobins.  Further in 2007, it received donations in inheritances bequests that makes it the second collection of pre colombian art in France after the Musée de Branly (Paris) and before the musée Guimet of Lyon. Located at 4 Place Louis Blanc, tel +33 05  62 05 16 60 or email musee@mairie-auch.fr under the city of Auch no direct webpage.

You come here for the foie gras best in France as well as the Armagnac that great liquor not quite the same as that other one but this one is better at the taste even if less famous.I wont mention the other one ,here is simply Armagnac. You can get it all at the Maison de Gasgogne in city center , ( old and beautiful house hall from the 19C) ;there is a permanent sale in July and August of regional products, artisanal, and gastronomic, free admission and info at tel +33  05 62 05 12 08 . Try here the chocolats Neuville at 40 rue de Lorraine, and webpage on Auch store here  http://www.chocolat-deneuville.com/chocolatier-auch.html . The marché or market days are in the mornings as thursdays in the ville basse (lower city) and Saturdays in the historic center by the Cathedral.

In past visits we have stayed at Hotel Ibis direction Agen as I get frequent points for the entire chain of Accor, the webpage is at http://www.ibishotel.com/gb/hotel-3449-ibis-auch/index.shtml , there are other hotels and one that looks nice to me is the Hotel de France at place de la liberation, webpage http://www.hoteldefrance-auch.com/

As for eating, we have indeed try that gascon cooking, La Cocotte, the dishes are serve in terracotta pots, try canard or duck any way you want will be good here,  traditional local food, at 1 rue Mazagran ,Tél. + 33  05 62 05 08 47, webpage http://www.la-cocotte.fr/Auch.11.html ; and my favorite for the ambiance, the views, food,friendly staff, and sublime tapas foie gras is La Cave d’Artagnan, simple info webpage here http://www.cavedartagnan.fr/ , and if you are looking for a lively place and a nice drink while resting your sore feet or winding down a long walk at nights try the Irish Corner, 1 place Betclar ( by Halle aux herbes,near tourist office); Tél. + 33 05 62 05 02 01, English and Spanish is spoken.

Have a great time in gascon country !!

The tourist office for Auch is at http://www.auch-tourisme.com/  

The tourist office for the dept Gers is at http://www.tourisme-gers.com/default2.asp , and the tourist office for the region Midi Pyrénées is at http://www.tourisme-midi-pyrenees.com/fr/index.php

2 Comments to “Auch, gascons and muskeeteers alors!”

  1. I would like to wish you the best for the work you have made in writing this blog.

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