The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 16

Bringing you the best of France including captivating towns like sunny Montpellier, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antiques capital of Provence, Gascony, Chateaux of the Loire Valley, Paris, Lyon, a long lost cheese story, mouth-watering recipes and a whole lot more.

Long ignored by mass

Long ignored by mass tourism, this tranquil region is fast becoming France's hot new destination says Sue Aran who lives in the Gers where she runs French Country Adventures guided tours of Gascony… Where is Gascony? The area of Gascony is bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, the south by the Pyrénées mountains, the east by Toulouse and the north by the vineyards of Bordeaux. It’s a region that’s sprinkled with ancient Roman ruins and humble bastides and it remains as historically rich as it was in medieval times. Unchanged since the 1950s by industry, tourism or major highways, its landscape has remained agricultural for centuries. Soft white clouds languish in deep blue skies above fields of bright yellow sunflowers, sun-kissed vineyards that stretch to the horizon, and velvet green pastures dotted with gaggles of geese and cream-coloured cows, Gascony’s appeal is seductively earthy, full-bodied and lusty, like its wines. It’s a culinary heartland of garlic, foie gras, duck confit, and France’s oldest brandy, Armagnac, and is as authentically farm-to-table as it gets. Gascony entered recorded history during the reign of Julius Caesar as the core territory of Roman Aquitania. Its fertile soil was nourished by the rivers descending from the Pyrénées to the plains below. In his memoir, Caesar described the machinations occurring during his nine years of fighting the Gauls, an alliance of nine tribes which included the Vascones. The Vascones defined a confederacy of non-Romanised tribes who inhabited both sides of the Pyrénées and shared common traditions. By the late 6th century several of their tribes moved north, over the Pyrénées, and down into the territory they called Vasconia, which now comprises the seven departments in southwestern France called

Salies-de-Béarn Salies-de-Béarn is a heady mixture of the Spanish and French Basque regions, rich in local gastronomie de terroir and robust wines. Salies is a picture-perfect village of vertiginous, gabled houses overlooking the Saleys River. Known from the Bronze Age as the ‘Salt City’ for having an underground water source seven times saltier than the ocean, its signature product was lucrative until the mid-19th century, when competition from the Languedoc and the Camargue weakened the salt market dramatically. Salies then reinvented itself as a spa village. In addition to the virtues of its salt, the local water contains more magnesium than any other natural spring in the world. Its spa is still in operation, offering health, beauty and fitness regimes. Gascony. The remaining portion in Spain became the Basque Country. As were their forebears, Gascons today are known to be independent, brave, hardy, boastful and, most of all, welcoming. Those visitors who venture into Gascony tend to follow the few well-publicised tourist paths such as Lupiac, the birthplace of D’Artagnan, one of the Three Musketeers made famous in the novel by Alexandre Dumas, or Lourdes, which, following the Marian apparitions of 1858, became a Catholic pilgrimage site. Undiscovered Gascony If, like many, you have a desire to escape the routine, here you’ll find an undiscovered paradise with some of the most spectacular scenery in France. Gascony is truly a land that time forgot. . There are many recreational choices to match your individual taste, including cycling, fishing, kayaking or rafting on the beautiful Gave de Pau and Gave d’Oloron rivers nearby. Whether you’re vacationing or just passing through, you’ll want to time your visit to include lunch at Les Fontaines Fleuries. The menu at this fabulous restaurant is sourced from local producers, prepared in-house, and is what memories are made of.

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