27 June to 5 September, 2020
26 June to 4 September, 2021
Gascony is best known for its glorious Summer Season in July and August. There are very many festivals and village parties, markets are bigger and everyone is on holiday. All our properties are available in Summer.
Outside the Summer Season, Gascony is quieter but still full of charm and there is lots to do. From April to June and September to November the weather is often lovely but a bit cooler than in high Summer.
Many of our properties are available to rent during the Winter/Spring months, and have wood fires and central heating. November/December can be very pleasant; Christmas/New Year are great fun here and for January, February and March you have the extra option of some great skiing in the Pyrenees.
The Gascon climate of long warm summers and short winters, plus its fertile soil and winter rain, have ensured that the area has remained predominantly agricultural, with no large towns or industrial areas and hence no significant pollution. This generous climate also made Gascony rich in the pre-industrial period, as witnessed by its fine domestic and church architecture.
Temperatures in summer average around 30 degC and sometimes rise to 40 degC in July and August. In the winter however temperatures may occasionally fall well below zero with snow falling about once every 10 years. Mostly, winters are much shorter than in Britain, with Spring starting in early March and Autumn lasting well into October. December, January and February are usually the only properly cold months. There is typically some rainfall in every month of the year; July and August can present sudden epic thunderstorms with rain of flooding strength, violent winds and dramatic lightening. However, Gascony is also being affected by Climate Change and these patterns are changing.
Gascony extends from the Pyrenees mountains in the South to the River Garonne in the North, and from the Atlantic coast to the West as far as, but not including, the City of Toulouse to the East. This wide area is shown on the map under the heading 'Where is Gascony'. To the East of Toulouse, both the Montagne Noire and the Mediterranean Sea also affect the climate of Gascony.
This geography, the mountains, the rivers, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean all influence our climate. These different forces have a varying effects on the Seasons, depending exactly where you are in Gascony. The competing influences of the weather from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean contribute to the character of the highly regarded 'country wines' of Gascony, made here since Roman times. Generally, the weather is sufficiently kind and the daylight hours long enough, for the farmers always to have time to do what they have to do without appearing to be under pressure.
Auch, the capital of ancient Gascony and now of the modern Departement of 'Le Gers', is on approximately the same latitude as Nice and Cannes in the middle of the French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) in the South East. Auch is also conveniently located roughly in the centre of Le Gers. Auch is about 900 kilometres/550 miles due South of London, with a driving distance via the Channel Tunnel and down the A20 ("L'Occitane") of 725 miles or about 13 hours, door to door.
Gascony was the core territory of Roman Gallia-Aquitania. This province, by the 2nd century AD, had extended to include much of western Roman Gaul, as far north as the Loire. Thus, the name of the Aquitani came to be transferred to the territory of central-western France later known as the Duchy of Aquitaine. After the collapse of the Roman Empire it seems that a Gallo-Roman culture continued to thrive in Gascony, until the independent Dukedom of Gascony was consolidated around 850AD and this lasted until the House of Poitiers (Dukes of Aquitaine) took control in around 1050 as Dukes of Aquitaine and Gascony. This line continued until The Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine (and Gascony) married the Angevin Prince of Wales and future Henry II of England in 1152. For the next 300 years a large part of France, including Gascony, was controlled by the Kings of England. During this period Edward I ('Longshanks') of England, and his great-grandson, Edward The Black Prince, actively used the title 'Duke of Gascony'. When The 100 Years War ended with the defeat of England by France at the Battle of Castillon near Bordeaux, the Dukedom of Gascony ceased to exist and Gascony joined the gradual evolution of the regions of France into a single nation. Having said this, Gascony has always seemed a long way from Paris and still proudly independent and 'Gascon' its ways. It is said that even at the time of the French Revolution, the 'guillotine' had become quite blunt by the time it arrived in Gascony!
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