A wonderful surprise in the South West
Why visit Auch?
- Fantastic monuments and an iconic statue of D'Artagnan.
- A major stage of the Santiago de Compostela routes (Arles trail).
- A Top Occitania Site approved as a Pays d’Art et d’Histoire.
- The CIRCA Festival that makes Auch France's circus town.
- Amazing Pre-Columbian collections at the Jacobins Museum.
The great Auch staircase
Park on Boulevard Sadi Carnot by the Gers and go up the great staircase's 370 steps built in 1863. The leafy staircase adorned by the statue of the legendary D'Artagnan is a majestic link between the top and bottom of the town.
When you reach the top you can gaze out at the landmarks made up of the Tour d’Armagnac, Prefecture (former archbishop's palace) and Sainte-Marie Cathedral. Later on, make your way back down along "pousterlles", Auch old town's signature steep lanes.
D’Artagnan, the head of the Musketeers under King Louis XIV, was born around 1610 at the Château de Castelmore in Lupiac, 35km from Auch.
The UNESCO site is a sight for sore eyes
The size and flamboyant Gothic style of the Auch cathedral (15th-17th century) will amaze you. It is listed as UNESCO world heritage as part of the Santiago de Compostela routes. Its choir with 116 stalls sculpted with 1500 characters is simply breath-taking. As are the colours and lights captured in the 18 stained glass windows by Arnaud de Moles, 16th century wonders.
Next door, the Tour d'Armagnac no longer houses prisoners but instead the cathedral's treasure museum: don't miss it!
With items from the Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Mayan and Aztec civilisations, the Jacobins Museum in Auch is home to the 2nd largest collection of Pre-Columbian art in France after the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. NB: The museum is currently under renovation.
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IN AUCH OLD TOWN
Soak up the great Gers atmosphere
Continue your Auch experience on the buzzing Place de la Libération and the neighbouring medieval lanes. Cute boutiques, restaurants and café terraces line up and fill the air with aromas that will make you want to linger a little longer.
Try foies gras, confits, melons, croustade pies, signature Armagnac, Floc de Gascogne and of course Gers wine: Côtes de Gascogne, Saint-Mont, Madiran and Pacherenc.
An absolute must is the Thursday morning market in the lower part of town.
"Explore Auch" : c'est le nom de la nouvelle application mobile pour découvrir Auch de façon ludique, sous forme de mini-jeux. Votre guide : le jeune et intrépide Baptistou qui a besoin de votre aide pour retrouver son oie (du Gers bien entendu).
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Rub shoulders with artists
Typical of Auch: an action-packed schedule all year. Circus arts with CIRCA, the international contemporary circus festival in October. Cinematic art with the Ciné 32 Indépendance(s) et Création Festival in October. Vocal arts with a much-respected festival, Eclats de Voix, held in June. The Soirs d’Eté in July and August host a show or concert in a heritage site every week.
25 mins from Auch you can visit one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France", Lavardens and its château, fief to the Armagnac counts, as well as Auterrive, Lahitte and other small villages in Greater Auch.
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- By car: 75 mins from Toulouse on the N124. 2.5 hrs from Bordeaux on the A62 (junction 7). 7 hrs from Paris on the A10 then the A20 (junction 66 after Montauban).
- By plane: the nearest airports are Agen la Garenne 70km away, Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées 80km (regular connections to Paris) and Toulouse-Blagnac 76km away.
- By train: there are several regional trains (TER) between Toulouse and Auch every day.