The Gers department, in the Occitanie region, is the France of many people’s imaginations; sunflowers and gently rolling hills, medieval bastide towns and classic French farmhouses, vineyards and typical French country restaurants, rivers and lakes, castles and historic villages all set against the dramatic backdrop of the Pyrenees mountains.
The Gers, named after the river Gers, is also still often called by its rather more romantic name of Gascony despite the fact that Gascony hasn’t officially existed since 1789. This refers to ancient territories to the west of Toulouse which were renamed after the French revolution. Situated midway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, southern Gascony is one of France’s most tranquil and unspoiled regions with breathtaking views and a relaxed pace of life, often referred to as the Tuscany of France, without motorways, traffic congestion or pollution from industry.
Access to the region however is easy; most of Gascony is within an hour to an hour and a half of Toulouse and a new motorway in neighbouring departments, linking Bordeaux with Pau (Pyrenees Atlantiques), has opened up the area further as has the arrival of low-cost carriers serving Biarritz, Tarbes/Lourdes and Toulouse airports and the TGV line direct from Paris to Bordeaux in two hours.
The climate is generally mild, with summer temperatures not as excessively hot as in the Mediterranean area, long Indian summers extending well into October and plenty of winter sun. Winters are generally mild and you’ll usually only find snow closer to the mountains.
The Gers is also one of the least populated departments in France and, as a result, property prices have remained stable and affordable. Moreover, this is a part of France which is known for its beautiful stone houses in traditional French style and pretty Bastide villages. The southern Gers offers particularly good value for money and is less developed than the northern part of the region.
The Gers is home to many architectural styles, influenced by the region’s history and its economic activity and this history is reflected in the names, hence Castelnau (houses gathering around a castle to be protected), Sauveté (rural village being an asylum/ protected by the Church) or Bastide (fortified villages).
In terms of materials used in the construction of properties; to the south, river stones are much used to build houses, to the east the architecture is more likely to be farmhouses built from local earth bricks. In the northern part of the department, sandstone is used, whereas to the west, pretty half-timbered properties are a common sight. There are also a huge variety of property styles and ample lovely villages to choose from so you are likely to find pretty much whatever it is you are looking for in the Gers.