The Gers is a very specific area of France. The French department was named after the Gers river. It is a rural idyll and forms the least densely populated area in France and Western Europe.
The Gers is one of the 83 departments which were originally created during the French Revolution which took place on March 4, 1790. This new area was created from parts of the former French provinces of Guyenne and Gascony. The area also has the highest number of chateaux in any French department.
The department is part of Midi Pyrenees, the vast French region located in the south west, with Aquitaine to the west and Languedoc Roussillon to the East. The Gers department is surrounded by the departments of Lot-et-Garonne, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrenees Atlantiques, Tarn et Garonne and Haute Garonne. The prefecture town of the department is Auch. Auch represents the only Gersoise town to account for more than 10,000 inhabitants. The sub prefectures are the towns of Condom in the north and Mirande in the south.
The area is second-to-none when it comes to breathtaking landscapes, traditional gastronomy and a quiet, calm life in the countryside. No stress, no noise, just simple life and plenty of joie de vivre. The rural dream is just 2 hours from London thanks to the airports in neighbouring departments!
The Gers department is often described by connoisseurs of France as an excellent area - if not the best area of France for Brits who want to relocate. Indeed, the department has a diverse array of assets that you will discover, some of them are unmissible (rolling countryside, very mild climate, Pyrenees nearby), whilst others remain more subtle (hearty food, local culture, street markets, Gascon traditions and joie de vivre). Foreigners and particularily English speaking visitors often refer to the area as Gascony, referring to the former French province which predated the Gers department.
The Gascon culture is foremost that of an agricultural area where the local gastronomy is highly regarded (see chapter below) by both French nationals and foreign expats. The most cultivated crops in Gers are colza, grain, sunflowers and corn. The local dialect is the Gascon patois, but its usage remains in decline among the younger generations. The Gascon is a branch of the Occitan language spoken in the whole south of France.
The largest Gersoise towns in terms of number of inhabitants are Auch (22,000), Condom (7,250) and Fleurance (6,279).
Weather and climate: the proximity to the Atlantic coast and Pyrenees mountains can affect the climate, the weather can be changeable and occasional strong rain showers are a blessing to the arable farmland throughout the department. The North east of the department is the dryest area due to its increased distance from the sea and mountains. Winters can be quite cold at times but the general climate is mild. Summers are often hot and dry with temperatures often reaching over 35°c, in fact Auch is one of the driest cities in France along with neighbouring Toulouse.
The department accounts for 172,511 inhabitants, which is one of the least populated in France. Property prices as a result have remained quite affordable when compared with the national average. The rural exodus in the 1900s meant that prior to the recent property boom, the Gers housing stock remained less exploited and developed than in the more popular departments of France. Foreigners have steadily settled in the area since the early 1990s, attracted by the quality of life and abundance of inexpensive rural stone properties.
Property in the Gers remains affordable, abundant and offers better value than in the neighbouring departments of Lot et Garonne and Tarn et Garonne. The average price of an old house in the Gers department is as follows: €113,000 (1 bedroom), €148,100 (2 bedrooms), €174,200 (3 bedrooms), €234,600 (4 bedrooms). However, some areas are cheaper than these averages, this is especially the case in the less accessible south of the department, for example around Mirande where a 1-bedroom house costs €97,900 on average (compare this with €130,000 in the sector around Auch). An equivalent house elsewhere of France, according to the average French house price, would be €204,000 for such a property.
Buying an old apartment in the Gers will cost €1,340 / square metre. Prices are not plummeting this year despite the recent cooling of the French property market..
The most expensive sector in the department is Auch, followed by Lectoure and Condom in the north of the department. The south of the department is cheaper, Mirande and towns in the south offer high value-for-money investments.
To get updated info about the housing prices in the Gers department, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to learn more about Midi Pyrenees’s Property Prices.
The Gers along with the whole of Gascony is renowned amongst foreign visitors and property buyers for its outstanding quality of life. It is definitely a massively appealing area, boasting unquantifiable assets that more commercial departments can not offer. Read below to discover the best of what is on offer and why you should take the plunge and personally discover the Gers department.
Gourmet food: the Gers is famous for its delightful food and wine. The most renowned gastronomic treasure is Foie Gras. This refined terrine made of duck and geese livers is a regional institution and many locals are thorough connoisseurs of the produce. Wine delights in the Gers include Armagnac brandy, the Côtes de Gascogne and Floc de Gascogne aperitif. Maybe less renowned, the local wild mushrooms as well as duck breast and gizzards are absolutely great and will wake up any dozing foreign tastebud.
Tourism – sights: tourism in the Gers means authenticity. An ideal place to relax. The locals are proud to let you discover their charming towns, historic monuments and traditional farms or vineyards. The Gers is proud of its produce and don’t forget that every Armagnac and wine degustation comes with a mandatory tasting session! This type of authentic experiences is great for families. The area is also a delight if you are fond of walking, hiking, cycling or embracing the local nature. Music festivals - such as the in the internationally renowned Marciac jazz festival and Vic Fezenzac Tempo latino are always worth a visit. Exhibitions are numerous in the departments many historic monument. The department caters for all types of visitors, allowing for very different kinds of holidays to be enjoyed.
Scenery: the verdant rolling countryside is everywhere. From the threshold of a classic Gersoise house, you can enjoy the breath taking rural scenery, the Pyrenees foothills and glimpses of the many ancient buildings, castles and monuments scattered across the department.. Every town or village has curiosities to discover such as walled ramparts, historic gardens, statues or monuments. The Gers embodies authentic France, the lush countryside compliments the many facets of this intriguing department.
Lifestyle: there is nothing more pleasant in Gers than visiting a morning street market. There, you can absorb the very ambience of this department whilst tasting and buying the finest local produce. But there is far more to Gers than these traditional markets. The Gascon traditions are another example of the local warmth and energy: in many villages, during summer, neighbours gather and eat all together on the place du village or in the local salle des fêtes. This is an excellent opportunity to socialize and integrate into these close knit rural communities.
Location – transport infrastructure: rural but with good access: the area certainly benefits from the best of both worlds. To access the Gers, you have the choice between Pau, Agenand Tarbes, Toulouse and Bordeaux airports, located 1 to 2 hours from the area, depending on which part of Gers you live in. Bordeaux and Toulouse have international airports. High-speed trains connect Toulouse and Agen with the whole of France and with the Eurostar. Eventually, the A62, A64 motorways as well as the RN 124 main road allow a pretty swift access to any part of the Gers.
Gers has a multitude of villages with their own particularities. Differences in the climate are also visible. Let’s learn more by visiting the following pages:
Auch property: is the historical capital of the Gascony province. The Gers river flows along the town. The town is built on two levels and boasts typical narrow streets called Pousterles, which link the upper town with the banks of the Gers river.
Barbotan les Thermes property: is mainly renowned for its thermal bath resort. Located in the middle of the forest, surrounded by a huge lake, Barbotan offers visitors a thermal bath resort, as well as many outdoor and sportive activities all around the lake.
Condom property: is located at the very heart of the Armagnac region. A green region on the way to Santiago de Compostela. The town is a gem of medieval architecture and green environment. Condom also features great mills and bridges which make the pride of the locals.
Eauze property: is the main town of the Bas-Armagnac region. The town and its surroundings are foremost an agricultural area and vineyards are an important activity. Eauze’s vines are indeed the most prestigious ones in the bas-Armagnac. Famous local produce are the brandy Armagnac and the aperitifFloc de Gascogne. Duck and geese foie gras are also very renowned.
Fleurance property: is a typical bastide village located in the north of the department, between Lectoure and Auch. The town stands out for its architectural heritage, dominated by its Market Hall and its Gothic style church.
Gondrin property: is a lovely village located close by Eauze and which displays the largest leisure centre in the department. Gondrin offers visitors a large leisure centre in an authentic Gersois village.
Lectoure property: located at the border of the Lot et Garonne department, the town has taken the best assets of both areas. Lectoure is renowned for its gastronomy (garlic and Melon from Lectoure), and for its breathtaking landscapes.
Marciac property: the 'royal bastide', as it is called, stands out in Europe for its worldwide renowned JAzz Festival (called Jazz in Marciac). Marciac is also a beautiful village which displays a typical Gascony Bastide, with the largest square of the whole Midi Pyrenees region.
Mirande property: is a typical 13th century Bastide. The name means “that can be admired”. Indeed, the town is still gorgeous nowadays. As all Bastide towns, it was originally a fortified village whose location was strategic for the defense of the area. Nowadays, the town is a sub-prefecture of the Gers and has developed many leisure and sport facilities.
Nogaro property: is a charming 2,000 inhabitants located at the heart of the Bas-Armagnac area. Famous in the whole France for its Paul Armagnac motorsport race track, Nogaro attracts many visitors, especially during race times. Its Gascony culture is very strong and you can see it for instance through the Course Landaise organized every year.
Vic-Fezensac property: is a small town of hardly 3,700 inhabitants. Located in the Osse Valley, the town benefits from an oceanic climate with quite mild winters and very hot summers. Vic Fezensac is renowned in France for its festival and for the typical ferias (bullfighting events) which take place there. A Spanish influence can be seen through its Salsa dance festival.
The Gers is home to many architectural styles. These styles have been influenced by the economic activity of the original inhabitants, most of whom were farmers. The local villages also are witnesses of the past: they can be either 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 property styles, the central part of the Gers has many maisons de Maitre. Bastide properties can be found next to the villages which bear that name. To the south, river stones are much used to build houses, and to the east the architecture is poorer with many farmhouses built from mud bricks. In the northern part of the department, sandstone is used, whereas to the west, half-timbering properties are a common sight.
Below are some of the most famous house styles and architecture in Gers/ Gascony.
Half-timbering properties: this type of properties is particularly adapted to the location. The locals have influenced this style a bit, thus half-timbering properties in the area often have a ground floors with archways, creating a shaded path in front of the house. They can foremost be found in the rural heartland of Gascony and to the west, near the Landes department.
Gers Maisons de Maitre: in Gers they are especially to be found to the south of the department. They are generally grand properties with a very nice garden attached. Formerly colonial houses, they are nowadays large and prestigious Gascony houses.
Bastide Property: the Bastide houses found in Gers are often built more lengthwise than similar properties in other French regions. They were traditionally built to help defend a village or town called Bastide too. These properties are large and elegant. Stone walls are gorgeous and often, stones are exposed. The layout is very practical and rooms are much luminous.
Houses with pebbles walls: a very typical Gascon house style. These houses feature walls made of pebbles. These stones can be found both inside or outside the house. Generally, a layer of stones follows a layer of bricks, etc. The appearance of these walls is gorgeous. Bricks ensure a good stability and help to strenghten the house’s structure. Careful: these houses can be very costly to renovate as the building of pebbles walls demands sharp skills.
Gascony Pisé Properties: Pisé properties are often the most traditional properties in any area of France as local earth is used to build walls. Earth is melt with water and, sometimes, plants to create the walls’ structure. Thus, next to Pisé houses, a ditch can often be seen in the garden as earth was directly taken from there. Sometimes the ditch is converted in a small pond. Around Fleurance, many Pise houses can be found.
Click here for more info about Architecture in Midi Pyrenees.
|Take a closer look at the Gers property market:|
|Auch Property Information||Barbotan-les-Thermes Property Information|
|Condom Property Information||Eauze Property Information|
|Fleurance Property Information||Gondrin Property Information|
|Lectoure Property Information||Marciac Property Information|
|Mirande Property Information||Nogaro Property Information|
|Vic Fezensac Property Information|