An experience everyone should have at least once in their lives! The world-famous Jazz in Marciac Festival has been bringing together the biggest musicians on the planet since 1978. It was founded by a few friends and now attracts 250,000 audience members every summer. Wynton Marsalis, Ibrahim Maalouf, Keith Jarrett, Diana Reeves, Norah Jones and more have all played in the festival's main tent.
Spend a fortnight rocking out with Marciac at a massive music festival with free concerts on the main square (the Off Festival), masterclasses and improv shows at every street corner from late July to mid-August.
Marciac is a bastide, a town founded in the late 12th century. Start your tour on Place de l’Hôtel de Ville. Stroll beneath its elegant arcades, admire its impressive wooden pillars and enjoy its vast terraces.
Venture into the streets that all cross at a right-angle based on the classic bastide model and admire the town's two belltowers: the one at Notre-Dame Church and the spire on the Augustine Convent's old chapel. Take a break to look at the church's painted doorway that's typical of Southern French Gothic style.
As soon as the curtain falls on the Jazz in Marciac Festival, the cultural season picks up again at L’Astrada: a unique venue in the region. Over 50 performances of dance, circus, theatre, classical music, song and, of course, jazz music, attract a loyal audience from far and wide.
Gallery owners and artists in Marciac also open their doors in all seasons to visitors and art lovers.
Life is good in Marciac in the heart of Gascony. Use your stay to sample the treasures of AOC Saint Mont and AOC Madiran, two vineyards that unfurl at the crossroads of the Santiago de Compostela routes. Try the finest Armagnacs and Floc de Gascogne, the local apéritif served chilled.
Armagnac (yes, again!) flavours Gascony pastis, your holiday's signature dessert. You're in Gers, the land of geese and ducks. You're spoilt for choice when it comes to foie gras, confit duck and duck breast!
Marciac is on the Arles trail that leads pilgrims through Toulouse to Santiago de Compostela. If you're a cyclist then ride to the banks of the Adour River where adventure awaits.
By bike or car, hit one of the three Saint-Mont wine routes. You can choose from the trail around the châteaus, the bastides and Adour Valley.
Worth the detour
The Sarragachies vineyard, in the AOC Saint Mont, dates back to the early 19th century. It includes 21 grape varieties (including 7 unknown ones) and is listed as a Monument Historique. A highly sought-after distinction.
Life may be better in summer but it's at its best in Marciac when the top jazz stars stop here with their suitcases packed with swing and soul. Book your ticket for Gers now and come to Marciac! You'll love the social optimism of an entire village devoted to culture and togetherness.
Video 5:45 © Wynton Marsalis.