Auch is a lot more than D’Artagnan!

And here I go again with my updates, great memories comes alive again and even better on these new times of ours. We were on our road warrior mode passing by the region of Occitanie and stop at Auch. A very pleasant surprise and I like to update this introductory post on Auch as other posts shows pictures and sights in my blog. Hope you enjoy it and come on over to Auch!

This is another dandy town we like. It is more than D’Artagnan, yes that captain of the musketeers a real character immortalize by Dumas in the book and later movie. He was born not far from here in the Chateau de Castelmore near village of Lupiac. Let’s tell you about the city of Auch.

Auch is in department Gers no 32  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. Auch is crossed by the Gers river a tributary of the Garonne river that divides the city into the the upper town or haute-ville, on the left bank where the medieval city center is located on a hill and the lower town or basse-ville, on the right bank. The upper town is link to the banks of the Gers river by pousterles of the middle ages, meaning tight narrow streets with high elevation and the Escalier Monumental or monumental stairs built in 1863 (see post).  It is wide beautiful country by car on the roads N124 linking Toulouse to the N524 direction Bordeaux. Also a train station serving TER trains from Toulouse-Matabiau station. The LGV line last read was in study to link it with Toulouse. Picture of our parking while visiting Auch!

auch-pl-de-la-liberation jul10

The bit of history I like. At Roman times the city  was developing fast and became the main urban center of  Occitanie (old Aquitanie)  on the crossing of two Roman ways such as Lyon des Convénes (Saint Bertrand de Comminges) to Agen and Toulouse to Bazas, and after the looting of the town of  Eauze , Augusta Auscorum becomes the main city.  In the Christian era, Auch was elected to a bishop and then archbishop in 879AD.

Auch was capital for a while of the Counts of Armagnac in the 10C and 11C ; and was taken in several occasions to serve the fighting of power between the Church, Municipal and Lordships. From the 12C the city was shared by the two authorities that of Armagnac and the archbishop , and the lines were present on the gates of the city and on the columns of the old market until the French revolution.  After the battle of Lectoure in 1473 marking the end of the Armagnac dynasty the city was taken by the troops of king of France ,Louis XI . WWII passed by here with just some collaborators turning jews into the concentration camps.

Some of the things to see here are:

The Hôtel de Ville facing the Cathedral built between 1760 and 1778. It has a theatre on the Italian style that still is open today as well as a room of notables with the portraits of many famous Gascons. Early in the 12C the archibishop Raymond II ordered built a new palace for him and his successors at the place of existing buildings occupied by the sacristies and prisons including the tour d’Armagnac; The current building of the regional government or préfecture du Gers now occupies the archiepiscopal palace that was finished between 1750 and 1770 at the same place of the old medieval building of which some sections are still preserve.

The tourist office is in a wooden house from the 15C . The Maison de Gascogne is a market in stone decorated with commerce signs that originally for the business of grains but now houses a wonderful local produce market which we liked very much. The former Church of des Carmelites on the square of the same name is today the municipal library ; this medieval building was before the castle of the counts of Fezensac and later Armagnac, built in the 17C. The Place Salinis is a nice quaint medieval square to walk too. The nice bridge or pont de la Treille built between 1746 and 1750.

The must see for coming here are The Sainte Marie Cathedral (see post) built between the 15C and the 17C with stained glass that are just gorgeous, and the choir with 113 stalls in massive oak representing more than 1500 personages. On the way to Santiago de Compostela, St James way in which the Cathedral offers lodgings. 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. It has at its center a statue of Charles de Batz, aka D’Artagnan true musketeers work of Michelet in 1931.

Others are the Cloister of Cordeliers from the 14C in excellent shape with a capitulary room and remains of a cloister The collège (middle school) d’Auch founded in 1543 and eventually taken over by the Jesuites in 1590 until 1762, later the college is then name the College Salinis with a Chapel consecrated in 1628 for a nice architecture view. Hôpital général Saint-Augustin started construction in 1715 ; it was for two centuries manage by the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul until its closing in 1974 when the new hospital was built. The tour d’Armagnac, built in the 14C was originally a prison on the archibishop palace then later warehouse of religious archives, and later back to prison in the 19C and served until 1860. The donjon tower of 40 meters is on top of the monumental stair and has the the prison cells on the lower section and some by level which you can see climbing a steep stair today.

The museum of the Jacobins of Auch or Musée des Jacobins d’Auch were created by govt order in 1793 to house the collections taken by force by the French revolution mostly paintings and objects of arts, additions to it were by the archeological museum of the Sociéte historique de Gascogne end of the 19C. In 1921 it was enriched by the donation of  Guillaume Pujos of great Latin American work and later by the ethnographic gascon collection of Henri Polge after WWII , after several moving the museum is finally since 1979 at the former convent of Jacobins  In 2007, the museum benefited from a donation by the Lions international that gave it the second collection of pre Colombian arts in France after that of the Museum of Quai Branly in Paris of which they collaborate.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this again wonderful area of my belle France:

The city of Auch on history and heritage:

The Auch tourist office:

The Gers dept 32 tourist board on Auch:

The Occitanie region tourist board on Auch:

There ,quite a bit of nice town deep in my France, you know you should come and visit it. Auch is great, we have good memories of visiting and eating there with the family.

Enjoy Auch as we do and remember, happy travels, good health and plenty of cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Auch is a lot more than D’Artagnan!”

  1. There’s so much rich history to the area, it sounds incredible to time-travel through the footsteps of those who’ve wandered before. The repurposing of buildings for a something completely different is always amusing – religious archive to prison has to be a unique one!

    Liked by 1 person

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