Flaran Abbey in the heart of the Baïse Valley unveils its golden stones burnished over the centuries. Stroll through all the monastery buildings: the church founded in 1151, the Roman cloister, its awe-inspiring chapterhouse and physic garden. The monk's dormitory is now home to artworks by European master painters from the 17th to 20th century: Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Monet etc. A collection loaned by the collector Mickaël Simonov. You can also visit the permanent exhibition devoted to the Santiago de Compostela routes.
DID YOU KNOW ?
D’Artagnan, the head of the Musketeers under King Louis XIV, was born around 1610 at the Château de Castelmore in Lupiac (approximately 30km south-east of Flaran Abbey).
Once used to transport Armagnac, the Baïse has a 23km section that you can sail on in the Gers area. Set sail on a barge that you can rent from Valence-sur-Baïse. Go canoeing and kayaking from Condom and soak up the river's untamed atmosphere then go through the Graziac double manual lock. Make the most of your time here to stroll through Condom, a former episcopal city and Armagnac trade capital.
Well worth a visit
Gaze at Condom's Gothic cathedral: it encapsulates the power of its former bishops whilst the 18th century mansions reflect its importance as the capital of Armagnac.
Go past the drawbridge in Laressingle, a stunning 13th century mini-citadel. This miraculously well-preserved and unique architectural ensemble is also the smallest fortified village in France. Next up is Montréal-du-Gers, the oldest fortified town in Gascogne built on a headland overlooking the valley. Explore the delicious round village of Fourcès, its château and clocktower. With their fortified city walls, medieval houses and picture-perfect charm, these villages have been listed among the most beautiful in France.
Explore "ELUSA, the ancient capital". That's the name of this amazing Gallo-Roman group of 3 sites: the Séviac Villa by Montréal-du-Gers, the Domus de Cieutat in Eauze and the Archaeological Eauze Treasure Museum.
The Puy trail (or GR®65) through Gers takes you to the most beautiful sites in Ténarèze: Condom the episcopal city, a hotspot on the way to Santiago de Compostela, Montréal-du-Gers, Larressingle… For a few hours or days, share the road with pilgrims and soak up the warmth on Saint James stops. Along the way you'll also see traditional local heritage: chapels, crucifixes, farms, hamlets built in lovely Gers stone.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Artigues Bridge, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built for pilgrims to pass over. It is one of few Roman bridges still standing in France.
Meet winemakers, learn about wine tasting in warehouses and estates…the vine rules here! You've come to the right place if you want to sample Côtes de Gascogne and Armagnac tipples: they are part of the "Les bons crus d’Artagnan®" destination, approved by Vignobles et Découvertes that recognises all the Gers vineyards.
Armagnac appeared 700 years ago and is a premium product that has stayed in the circle of family expertise. As for Côtes de Gascogne, its roots date back to Gallo-Roman times and make Gers the biggest white wine-making department in France.