Travel,  France,  Gastronomy

(Français) Culture et gastronomie du Gers

Aufildeslieux remains faithful to the authentic regions of France, especially to the Gers culture and gastronomy.
For the end of the year, why not organize a stroll through slow tourism between exhibitions, catering to its short circuit producers, wineries and heritage places?
The Gers region echoes in images with its generous nature and its disconcerting landscapes. It vibrates in winter and summer between music, circus and innovative forms in the field of cooperation between local artisans.
Like a friendship that is woven over time, Occitanie does not stop challenging our epicurean desires.While the winter frosts nestle in the small villages of Simorre or Lombez, we can still hear the fanfares of the 31st Festival Circa move away until next autumn ….

The Fall of the Angels, a choreographed show by Raphaëlle Boitel

The history of the Circa Festival in Auch started in the mid-70s with the Pop Circus in the attic of an oratory, not far from the banks of the Gers river, thanks to the abbot of Lavenère-Lussan. The initiative of this school served to empower young people by giving them the sense of group work. In the 90s it was decided to create a circus show of current form and this, every year.During the 2018 edition of the Festival Circa held in Auch, aufildeslieux was able to discover the live performance The Fall of the Angels of the Company L’Oubliée. The choreographer embarks us on a poetic journey in a world where some survivors fight their way to the borders of the absurd. Men and women are reduced to dislocated puppets in an environment expressed through  its simplest desolation. This powerful show is part of a general trend of activism expressed widely in the various circa forms of this Festival. Raphaëlle Boitel has always been attracted by the world of theater and  carried out her first experiments in Montauban  from which she comes. She then started with her brother Camille, to dance and perform in circus. Gradually she started performing in street shows, meeting Annie Fratellini and her daughter Valerie at the head of the circus academy of the same name since 2003 in Saint Denis.

During a film shoot, Raphaëlle, a jack of all trades, got closer to James Thiriez and at the age of 13 she participated in his show The Symphony of the Chafer. The universe of the fall of the angels is very sparse, describing the impoverishment of  humanity. Here, colors faded away, the word has become silent. The artists evolve on machines rythmed  by a very “mechanized” music and are almost lobotomized. The Circassian aspect is especially developed in the second part of the show. “Since my first show, or through the Operas  in which I have performed, I am trying to develop a choreographic language that is invented from the relationships between human beings, everyday life, it is based on a vocabulary that mixes dance, theater, cinema and circus material. “

The Company L’Oubliée has most certainly a great future ahead, thank you to the Circa Festival and its director Marc Fouilland for having make us discover it!

Immerse yourself in the heart of Auch

Auch, halfway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, offers a course of banks developed along the Gers for nearly 20 years. More than 1500 feet of hedges, 350 trees and 2700 shrubs not counting the 2000 square meters of lawn have have been set up so that these banks are part of the desires and the daily life of the local population, with a population of 23,177 inhabitants. The pedestrian route, which is 6 km long, is also a cycle path through the center of the town of Auch. One end of this course is on the island of St Martin and the opposite is found in the area of ​​the racecourse not far from the CIRCA Festival.

The river Gers is not navigable because it is not deep enough. Until the 18th century the flow was very weak which did not incite to develop the navigable trade. Auch was founded with the arrival of a tribe, the Auschians, and we now know that there was a population in Auch as early as the 7th century BC (600 BC). it had a first Gallic city which succeeded a Gallo-Roman period with a city named Augusta Auscorum. Until 20 years ago the town of Auch was a garrison city. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Vascons, one of the many invaders of the region, were at the origin of the denomination of Gascony. Auch is a very attractive city like the whole of the department which, while being very rural and agricultural, has developed a second economy turned towards tourism. The free application Explore Auch is downloadable on Androïd and Apple to browse the historic city .

We will not miss a stroll on the side of the medieval herb hall, Place Betclar, where the traditional Saturday market is located. Some facades are worthy of a film by Marcel Carné, notably that of the old restaurant of the center.

Gourmets will make a stop at the excellent Table d’Oste which has been awarded the Label Tables du Gers group of restaurateurs who work closely with producers in the Gers. Aufildeslieux particularly remembered the goat cheese and honey with its goat ice cream and black cherry … a marvel!

Adjoining St. Mary’s Cathedral, a recent bakery offers organic products made with ancient cereals and gluten free.

The Cathedral Sainte-Marie d’Auch

This formidable building, between Gothic and Renaissance, was completed in 1680, after two centuries of work from the end of the 15th century to the 17th century. The cathedral was made with limestone Auch extracted near Saint – Cricq. The main facade has been restored for over 20 years as well as a part of the apse at the windows. One of the three entry doors combines Gothic style with Renaissance motifs from Italy. The cathedral is built according to the shape of the cross of Christ combining several architectural and artistic styles.  We can observe classicism, Renaissance stalls and a baroque style at the choir level.A dozen chapels succeed in the cathedral and are all decorated with windows executed in the early 16 th century were signed by the master glassmaker Arnaut de Moles and autographed in Occitan.The great organs were made by Jean de Joyeuse and the choir organ neogothic style by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll considered one of the most important organ of the 19th century.

The culture of the palace in Samatan and Simorre

At only 36 km from Auch, Samatan deserves a stop for gourmet purposes. Here in the country of the Portes de Gascogne The Table d’Olivier in a powdery grey-chocolate decor will be a delight for the eyes as well as the taste buds in a cheerful bistro atmosphere.

We will particularly remember its 18 euros menu for lunch, its grilled Piquillos with langoustines oil accompanied by a whipped cream with herbs, followed by a fillet of mackerel and green olive vinaigrette and its “marinière” of white butter-like mold .

Olivier Andrieu chose to work with small local producers of fruits, vegetables and meats, always looking for perfection to satisfy his customers. In his plates everything is good … and very beautiful! This restaurant is part of the circuit des tables du Gers, the label of the great chefs from Gers.

The beautiful energy of the Bouche à Oreille in Simorre

Arthur and Séverine Pailhès have been living in the Gers region for 10 years. They created a Cooperative and participative Society in Simorre, an economic system that places the human being first and foremost at the heart of their project. This is how the coffee shop “Le Bouche à oreille” became the central element of the village and this organization in the form of cooperative has allowed them to develop various ancillary projects such as a cooperative kitchen garden where Sophie, their market gardener, works. We find, among others, blackcurrant sage, aromatic herbs and old varieties of spinach. This vegetable garden is an experimental place where the principle of permaculture applies whose philosophy is to bring together natural elements by intervening as less as possible. Séverine Pailhès who regularly takes care of this space when she is not  flipping bacon at the restaurant , plans to install a bean tree orchard. The  Bouche à Oreille offers a menu set every Thursday evening and Friday they organize free concerts. Arthur does not fail to say “here in Gascony we love to spoof! In our jargon it means to impress the gallery!”. It is perhaps for this reason that an artistic place has also emerged in Simorre. Espant’art is a village house that has been restored with the elbow grease of all the volunteer friends of Simorre.
Thus a skewer of artists, scenographer,  stringed instrument maker, photographer or seamstresses, knitters, illustrators, potters have taken their quarters here. This house of designers is available in a boutique workshop on the ground floor and upstairs in shared workshops . Some  craftsmen come from other regions to settle in an ephemeral way so one can discover their creations. This initiative is a model to follow and reproduce …

Simorre

This rural village is located in the extreme south of the Gers department. It was built in 1141 on land owned by Benedictine monks and received its distinction of achievements thanks to its royal abbey.The primitive village of Simorre was on a hill west of the current town and was destroyed by a blaze in 1141 a fire. All villagers took refuge around the Abbey of Simorre founded in 507 by Clovis. Thus it became demarcated zones of law called “sauvetés” which were to be provisional, villagers never left! The church of Simorre was the property of the Benedictine abbey, its style was very influenced by the Toulouse Gothic style ( essentially made of bricks). It was remodeled outside by the architect Viollet-le-Duc, transforming it into a real fortification.

Lombez

The village of Lombez is part of the Pays Portes de Gascogne territory east of the Auch agglomeration. Towards the 7th century in Roman times came an evangelist from Antioch who would end his days at Lumbarium, the present village of Lombez. He became the patron saint under the name of Saint Majan who still has his little chapel at the top of the village of Lombez.

The Sainte-Marie cathedral that we will discover there is a replica of the Saint-Sernin basilica and the Jacobins of Toulouse. Its miter-shaped arcades (chief bishops’ covers) are typical of southern Toulouse Gothic with a brick construction, with the exception of the western stone entrance added later in a flamboyant Gothic style. The cathedral also served as protection with large buttresses in pink brick and a walkway at the very top of the building. The nearby village of Samatan, which had a magnificent cultural heritage in the Middle Ages, saw its heritage destroyed in 1355 by the Black Prince, Edouard Plantagenet, grandson of Aliénore d’Aquitaine. This is how the people of Samatan came to take refuge in Lombez in the Abbey.

Discover Wines, Floc and Armagnacs at Domaine du Grand Comté

The Domaine du Grand Comté is a house that has been in the Baylac family since 1860. Every generation has brought a personal touch to it through its products. Today it is Aurélie Baylac who took over the torch of this exploitation of 15 hectares of vines comprising 13 different grape varieties. Each year is declined with a range of Flocs, Armagnacs and personalized wines. The Baylac family regularly partners with local cheeses, black pork and duck producers for its tastings. It is the local distillers who will distill the white wine of winemakers in Armagnac brandy, there are about twenty in the region. Discovering with Aurélie her excellent Côtes de Gascogne 2017 Terra Gasconha is a Must!

*****

Where To Stay In Auch

Hotel de France
Place of Liberation, 32000 Auch
www.hoteldefrance-auch.com

Thanks to Raphaëlle Lequai and Fiona of Destination Gers-Departmental Committee of Tourism, Circa Festival, Marc Fouilland and his team,

Madame Caille and the Saves Tourism board

The Coteaux Arrats Gimone Tourism board

The Grand Auch Coeur de Gascogne Tourism board

and Laurent, guide speaker from the Country of Art and History company.

Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !



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