Midi-Pyrenees is France’s Largest Region–Full of Armagnac and History

A canal in Condom, France.
A canal in Condom, France.

I”ll be blogging for the next six days from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, located in the central southern part of the country just above the Pyrenees, with the center being the big capital city of Toulouse.

I learned that this is France’s largest region by geography, but that there aren’t a lot of people here.  I’m one of eight bloggers who are fanning out across the entire country to spend the week blogging, tweeting and paying a lot of media attention on the many aspects of France’s wine tourism.  Here are some of what you’ll be reading and seeing here over the week.

Tomorrow we’ll drive an hour from Toulouse to Auch, where there is a Monumental Staircase, along with a museum of Jacobins and many producers of the signature drink of the region, Armagnac. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this strong brandy similar to Cognac as well as meeting some of the family producers who make it right here.  We will be staying in a Relais & Chateau property called La Bastide Gasconne, which features a thermal spa at the hotel.

Then we’ll hit a bike rail trail, which in this part of the world just about guarantees some beautiful scenery as we ride alongside rivers, the famous Canal du Midi, and ancient castles. We will visit the village of Eauze with an archeological museum with treasures from the third century AD.  We will take a cooking lesson at our next hotel, La Maison d’Hotes Les Bruhasses in Condom, a small historic village.  Condom is a place filled with mansions built from fortunes made by the Armagnac business, and it has its own Michelin starred restaurant, Table des Cordeliers. Of course, we will dine there and I’m sure it will be over the top!

Later in the week we will visit the Flaran Abbey, which dates to 1151, and incredible works of art by Monet, Matisse, Renoir and others in its monk’s dormitory!  We will visit armagnac producers large and small and we will also visit a tannery in the small town of Lectoure.  So much fun, I can’t wait to get out on the road, with you at my side!