Auch, Gers, Midi-Pyrenees, South West France

Category: Midi-Pyrenees - City and town guides
Department : Gers
Post code : 32000
Rail link : Auch
Nearest ski resort : St-Lary-Soulan  100 km
Nearest airport : Toulouse-Blagnac  75 km
Commerce : Many shops, bars and restaurants
Economy : Food processing, agriculture, commercial and admin centre
To visit : Cathedral Sainte-Marie, Tour d "!Armagnac, Monumental staircase
Events : Festival of films, Circa  Circus festival
Market : Thursday and Saturday
Population: 21,911 (INSEE1999)

Key points about this information item Auch, Gers, Midi-Pyrenees, South West France




Auch is the capital of the Gers department and was is the historical capital of Gascony a role it assumed in 409, when it replaced Euaze that had been ruined.

It is an ancient town, built on the banks of the river Gers, whose name comes from the Aquitanian tribe that inhabited the area during the Roman conquest of 50 BC.



The city of Auch is split in two, with the old medieval part on the left bank of the River Gers and the more modern 19th and 20th century construction dominating the right hand bank.  The old town is centred around the Place Salinis, from where the Monnumental steps lead down to the river.  The Cathedral is also in this area.


The cathedral was started in 1489 and was completed over the following two centuries.  It is of interest because of the magnificent organ and the 113 carved wooden choir stalls.  There are also some very attractive stained glass windows.  The site has now been nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site as part of the 'Worldwide Cultural Heritage on the roads to Compostela'.


La Tour d'Armagnac is worth a visit.  It is a 40 metre, fourteenth century tower, which was  used a prison, with each of the top seven floors being an individual cell.  There is also a statue of Alexandre Dumas' fictional character d'Artagnan, who was based on the real life Charles de Batz d'Artagnan who was born in nearby chateau de Castelmore.


In the former Dominican Convent there is now an art and archaeology museum, Musee des Jacobins.  If the culture gets too much, head down to the river where the Jardin Ortholan and the Coulome Park offer peaceful shade and picnic areas.


The tourist office has maps and English language guides for two walks around the city.  The red guide will take you on a 45 minute stroll around the medieval town while the green route will take you on the other ssites of interest.






Food processing of regional produce plays a major role in the economy, which is not surprising with the famous local specialities such as foie gras and Armagnac.  Agriculture is also important and Auch is a large commercial and administrative centre for the area.  Tourism is playing an ever increasing part in the economy.



Travelling by train is quite easy, with a TGV station at Toulouse and direct SNCF connections from there.  The major towns can then be accessed by train, but the smaller towns and villages will need either a taxi or use of the infrequent busses.  Flying to Toulouse, which is only 75 km to the east, offers connections to a number of destinations in the UK as well as Paris and other European cities.  Have a look at our travel pages for more information.


Auch is well connected by road, although there are no motorways, but the National roads are generally quite and well maintained.



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