Main tourist attractions and sites in Gascony

Pyrenees National Park

Gers and East

Auch: the departmental capital of the Gers sees itself as the capital of Gascony. The top sites include the 16th century Sainte-Marie cathedral , which has a fine organ and early 16th century  stained-glass windows. Next to it stands the Tour d’Armagnac – a 14th-century prison, and a statue of “d’Artagnan”, the famous but fictitious leader of the Three Musketeers. A monumental stairway leads up to the Cathedral from the banks of the Gers and the lower town. The tourist office is housed in a particularly fine 15th century half-timbered building. The Musée des Jacobins contains a fine collection of South-American pre-Columban art.

Larresingle: a small fortified village near Condom. Just outside the village, from March to November, there is a outdoor hands-on mediaeval siege-machines museum. Nearby the mediaeval Pont d’Artigue has for centuries carried pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella over the river Osse.

Montreal du Gers: delightful small bastide town, founded in 1255. Surrounded by vineyards. Nearby are the remains of the Gallo-Roman villa of Seviac, with some impressive and extensive mosaics.

The Armagnac area: famous for its wines and spirits, the Armagnac area lies mostly in the southwest of the Gers.

Condom: historic small town with a 16th century late Gothic cathedral, and an Armagnac museum.

Prehistoric Caves of Gargas: near St. Gaudens (31) Stone age carvings and paintings, that can actually be visited. Underground tour and interpretive centre. Advance reservation is normally essential.


Landes and Gironde

The forests of Les Landes: the largest expanse of coniferous forest in France. Plenty of opportunities for hiking and cycling, specially along the coast.

Côte d’Argent: the Atlantic coast – long expanses of sandy coastline, dotted with small tourist resorts.

Dune du Pyla: the largest sand dunes in Europe, in the Landes de Gascogne regional park, just south of the popular seaside resort of Arcachon.

Zoo du Bassin d’Arcachon: close to the Dune du Pyla, this zoo is one of the larger in France, covering a site or around 20 hectares. Many large animals in spacious enclosures.

Chateau-fort de Roquetaillade: 14th century fortified castle, restored in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc; located at Mazères, on the borders of Gironde and Landes.


Pyrenees

Pau: capital of the western Pyrenees; an attractive town, with a fine castle. The Pau city art gallery, the Musée des Beaux Arts, has a small but interesting collection, including works by Rubens, Zurbaran, El Greco, Ribera, Corot, Degas, Boudin, Vuillard, Marquet and many others. Pau is a good centre for exploring the Pyrenees.

Lourdes: the most important Catholic pilgrimage centre in France, south of Pau, in the Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees National Park: Alpine mountain area on the Spanish border, including the Cirque de Gavarnie.

Pic du Midi: at 2877m altitude, the Pic du Midi is one of the highest points in the Pyrenees. Accessible by cablecar from the ski resort of La Mongie at the Col du Tourmalet, one of the great Pyrenean passes frequently on the route of the Tour de France.


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