A stair and D’Artagnan in Auch!

So come all the way with me south, in the deep France I love. Come to Auch in department 32 Gers in the region of Occitanie. The town is practically in the center of the Gers department and only 69 km west of Toulouse 162 km from Bordeaux, 390 km from Marseille, 530 km from Nantes and 595 kms from Paris to name a few.

There is two wonderful monuments in one to see here a must. Let me tell you a bit more about them ok

The escalier monumental of neo classic style connecting the upper town to the lower town in 374 steps on a 35 meters levelling with six volleys of which four are double on a rest platform and three pylons in the terrace to showcase the fountains and garden. Actually, it takes 233 steps to go from Lower to Upper town of Auch.

The east side of Place Salinis closed by stone balustrades, forms a first balcony offering a panoramic view of the lower town. The same balustrades protect the first landing of the Monumental staircase to the right of the Tour d’Armagnac to the north and the Salinis college to the south. In the center of the retaining wall of the two terraces and the central garden is dug, over the entire height, a cul-de-four niche, framed by pilasters and surmounted by a semicircular arch, housing a fountain and a basin.

On the ground of the first esplanade, L’Observatoire du temps, a cast iron sculpture by Jaume Plensa commemorating the 1977 floods in Gascogne, echoes the words of the Old Testament evoking the flood. To the south, the esplanade continues along rue Vieille Pousterle with medieval houses. To the north are the terraced gardens of the Hôtel de la Préfecture, the former Archiepiscopal palace. On the last terrace, preceding the descent to the Gers spanning rue Charras and rue Rabelais, overlooks the monumental statue of the famous Gascon Charles de Batz de Castelmore, dit d’Artagnan.

Tourist office of Auch on the Monumental Staircase

It has at its center a statue of Charles de Batz, aka D’Artagnan true musketeers, and one reason I had to come here period. One of my favorite characters of history, thank you Mr Dumas…

A bit of history of the personnage I like

Charles de Batz de Castelmore, aka D’Artagnan was born between 1611 and 1615 at Castelmore Castle, near the village of Lupiac, in Gascogne ,current department 32 of Gers and died in Maastricht during the siege of this city June 25, 1673, during the Holland War.

Auch

Little its known but some apocryphal memories appeared in 1700, that is 27 years after his death. Mixing reality and imagination, they were written by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras from scattered notes left by D’Artagnan. Gatien de Courtilz discovered the life of the Gascon hero during one of his stays at the Bastille, while Baisemeaux, ex-companion of D’Artagnan, was its governor.  Alexandre Dumas was inspired by these memories to compose his character of d’Artagnan, hero of three stories published between 1844 and 1850 and of which the best known is The Three Musketeers. But he gave birth to it around 1607: he was eighteen in 1625, the first year of the romantic trilogy.

Through his mother, the famous musketeer Charles de Batz-Castelmore, known as the Count d’Artagnan,  is also the first cousin of Pierre de Montesquiou d’Artagnan who later became Marshal of France. In 1657, the first company of musketeers, known as “large musketeers” or “gray musketeers” because of the dress of their horses, was reconstituted. D’Artagnan became a member with the rank of second lieutenant in 1658, and even as second he assumed the real command.

D’Artagnan had his mansion (now disappeared) at no 1 of the current rue du Bac, at the corner of the Quai Voltaire in Paris, in the current 7éme arrondissement (former Quai des Théatins). There he met a rich widow, Anne Charlotte de Chanlecy, lady of Sainte-Croix. On March 5, 1659, a contract bearing the signatures of Louis XIV and Mazarin authorized him to take her for his wife, which he did the same year, on April 3, 1659, in the Saint-André-des-Arts Church, in Paris. They had two sons but left without name D’Artagnan (Batz) heirs by around 1892.

The sons were Louis de Batz de Castelmore (the elder), took the title of Count of Artagnan. He was raised as a page in the Great Stable, became a lieutenant in the guards, then retired from service because of his infirmities and died at Castelmore Castle in December 1709. Louis de Batz de Castelmore (the youngest), knight, later known as Count d’Artagnan, baron of Sainte-Croix, lord of Chanlecy from his mother’s chief, lord of Castelmore, was second lieutenant to the menins guards of Monseigneur le Dauphin and knight of Saint-Louis. He was camp marshal when he married by contract of May 21, 1707 Marie Anne Amé , daughter of Jean Baptiste Amé, adviser to the presidial of Reims. He died on June 7, 1714 at the Château de Sainte-Croix. He had two sons: Louis-Gabriel, who follows, and Louis-Jean-Baptiste.

In 1660, king Louis XIV married the Infanta of Spain, Maria Teresa. The ceremony takes place on June 9 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The trip to the Basque Country lasts a year and gives Louis XIV the opportunity to visit the southern provinces of his kingdom. D’Artagnan accompanies the procession. On September 5, 1661, the king entrusted d’Artagnan with the delicate mission of arresting Nicolas Fouquet (owner of Château Vaux-le-Vicomte) , during the holding of the Council in Nantes. A long period begins during which the musketeer, transformed into a jailer, accompanies his prestigious prisoner in his successive places of imprisonment: three months at the castle of Angers, at the castle of Amboise, then at the keep of Vincennes, on June 20 of following year at the Bastille and finally at Pignerol. Ten years later, on November 25, 1671, he proceeded similarly to the arrest of Lauzun. D’Artagnan was governor of Lille from April to December 1672.

D’Artagnan was killed on June 25, 1673 in front of Maastricht, during the war launched by Louis XIV against the United Provinces (Holland war) in 1672. The king himself led an army of 40,000 men. D’Artagnan, called in for reinforcement, was hit by a musket bullet received in the kidneys when he was fighting on a day off and was in the throat of the Tongeren gate of the fortification. The place of his burial is unknown. According to one hypothesis, he could have been buried in the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Wolder, near Maastricht. A legend would have it that the body of D’Artagnan was brought back to the castle of Olhain, in Pas-de-Calais, where it would still be today. Some others that his body was buried right in the battle field,, anyway it has never been found.

Tourist office of Auch on statue of D’Artagnan

A museum has been setup in his native village of note, Lupiac. Tourist office of the Gers on the Museum D’Artagnan in Lupiac

There you go a nice town with some posts on it but really needed to expand on this complex of stair facing the Gers river and the statue of the great D’Artagnan , captain of the Muskeeteers! Hope you enjoy the story as I do

And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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2 Comments to “A stair and D’Artagnan in Auch!”

  1. I learned something today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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