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Day 19: Southwest France & Auch - 1 June


Today was our last full day in Gascony, and Southwest France. Tomorrow we will be flying out to Prague.

As luck would have it (or not!), I had come down with a dreadful bug this morning, throwing up my breakfast, with aching bones and a funky belly to boot. Traveling puts the body through all sorts of stresses. We eat food that we wouldn’t normally eat at home and we push ourselves to do so much more because we want to see more, experience more. My system was just saying “That’s enough!”

We took it easy today with a short half day visit to Auch, which was only a half hour drive away from our auberge.

Auch is an ancient and beautiful city. The main square of Auch, the Place de la Rebublique is at the heart of the old town. Its cathedral, Cathedrale Saint-Marie has recently been nominated a UNESCO world heritage site as part of the ‘Worldwide Cultural Heritage on the roads to Compostella’. Beginning construction in 1489, it was completed two centuries later.

The Tourist Information Office is also one of the loveliest buildings in Auch, dating back to the 15th century. Picking up a guide from the office, may I recommend the ‘red route’, a 45 minute easy walking tour of the medieval centre.

After taking a look at the Cathedral in the centre of Auch, we walked to the Place Salinis to see the Tour d’Armagnac. At a height of 40 meters high, it was a prison in the 14 th century, with each of the seven upper floors in the tower prison cells. Oh, if those walls could speak!

Finding our way to the Great Staircase, we climbed the 234 steps to see the view from the top of the Staircase, a lovely panorama over the Gers valley with the Pyrenees in the distance. At the bottom of the Staircase was a bronze statue of d’Artagnan, one of the three musketeers and Peter’s childhood hero, who was said to be born 30km from Auch.

With little energy left for sightseeing, we returned to the auberge, where I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in bed, recharging my batteries for the drive to Toulouse airport and our flight to Prague in the morning.

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 1st June, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France
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