<h1>City walk through Auch</h1><p>Discover the nicest places, the most beautiful monuments and the most interesting facts of Auch, the capital of the Gers in southwestern France. Climb the monumental stairs along the statue of d'Artagnan, the most famous Musketeer and wander through the cozy alleys and 'pousterles' of the old historic town center.</p> <p>TOURISM IN THE GERS: Discover Gascony.</p><p>Camping La Brouquere<br />Small campsite in France<br />Gers / Gascony. Gascony: a little gem in France waiting to be discovered....</p><p><img src="/images/icons/brouquere_logo_big.png" alt="Camping La Brouquere<br />Small campsite in France<br />Gers / Gascony. Gascony: a little gem in France waiting to be discovered..." /></p>

City walk through Auch
Visit and discover the capital of the Gers

Cathedral and d'Artagnan

Who doesn't recognize it? The well-known cityscape of Auch with the beautiful Cathédrale Sainte-Marie that rises 40 meters above the river Gers and thus dominates the old town? Or the majestic stairs with the statue of d'Artagnan, the most famous Musketeer?

The cityscape of Auch...

Pousterles, d'Étigny and pilgrims

Less known but just as interesting are the 'Pousterles', the steep stairs that connect the upper part of town with the lower part. Or the great influence of 'Antoine Mégret d'Étigny' who, as a town council director, made many improvements to Auch around 1750. Auch is also an important stop on the 'Via Tolosana', one of the Pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela.

City walk through Auch

For those who want to discover Auch further, there is a city walk along several historical points of interest but the city walk also tells the stories of more recent events such as the heavy floods of 1977.

The city walk starts on the central square of Auch, the 'Place de la Libération' in front of the big cathedral. On the map below this walking route is mapped out. But the best parking places are also indicated on this map.

Map of the city walk through Auch...

Details of the city walk through Auch
The city walk starts on the central square of Auch, the 'Place de la Libération' in front of the big cathedral.

1

Maison Fedel

This half-timbered house ('colombage') from the 15th century with a structure of oak beams filled with red bricks has been remarkably beautifully restored and is a good example of medieval urban architecture. It is probably the oldest house in the entire town.

2

Halle aux Herbes

This market hall for herbs and vegetables dates back to the 18th century. The market is still held here every Saturday morning.

3

Préfecture du Gers

The 'Préfecture du Gers' nowadays houses in these impressive buildings. This former palace (Palais Archiépiscopal) was the residence of the archbishops and was built in the mid-18th century. The elegant facade is decorated with corinthian pillars.

4

Cathédrale Sainte-Marie

This enormous cathedral is 102 meters long and 35 meters wide. The two large towers, 44 meters high, flank the entrance to the cathedral which is the landmark of the cityscape of Auch. The foundation stone was laid on July 4, 1489 on the ruins of a former cathedral, but it took almost 2 centuries to complete the cathedral in 1680.

In the cathedral you can admire 18 beautiful stained glass windows made in the period from 1507 to 1513 by Arnaud de Molesin. Another special feature is the choir with 113 stools carved from oak with a total of more than 1500 detailed biblical, mythical and other scenes.

The Cathédrale Sainte-Marie has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998.

5

Bibliothèque Municipale

6

Maison Henri IV

This half-timbered house (Colombage) is named after Henri IV who lived in this house in 1578 in the company of Catherine de Médicis and Marguerite de Valois. A beautiful wooden and stone staircase can be seen in the courtyard of this house. Certainly a reason to go in and have a look!

7

Rue Pousterle de Paris

The word 'Pousterle' is only used for narrow alleys with steep stairs in Auch. It is derived from the Latin word "Posterula" which means something like "back door". And in times gone by, these Pousterles were actually used as a kind of back door to quickly get from the upper part of Auch to the river in the lower part of the town to get water. Nowadays there are 5 such Pousterles in Auch.

8

Rue Pousterle de las Oumettos

This Pousterle has the Gascon name for 'the little elms'.

9

Rue Pousterle des Couloumats

And this Pousterle has the Gascon name for 'pigeons'.

10

Rue Vieille Pousterle

Originally this Pousterle was called "La Grande Pousterle" and also had one long flight of stairs from the lower part of the town to the upper part. But these stairs were removed in the beginning of the 20th century, making it a steep alley with an increase of no less than 27%.

11

Rue Pousterle de l'Est

This is the last of the 5 Pousterles in Auch.

12

Porte d'Arton

This is one of the old entrance gates to the old town center of Auch. In 1575 there were a total of 11 such gates in the wall that protected the inner center of Auch. The home of the gatekeeper (in Colombage style) was located directly above the Porte d'Arton.

13

Colonne Napoléon

Halfway this small street opposite the side wall of the cathedral, this Napoleon column is painted high on the wall. This painting with the inscription 'Honneur au grand Homme' (Honor to a great man) is a memorial to Napoléon's visit to Auch in 1808.

14

Tour d'Armagnac / Trésor de la Cathédrale

The Tour d'Armagnac was built in the 14th century as a prison and as a symbol of the Archbishop's judiciary. The tower is 40 meters high of which the top 7 floors each formed a prison cell.

Since 2015, the "Trésor de la Cathédrale" museum is located here displaying an exhibition of more than 200 religious works of art. The museum also tells more about the history and architecture of the cathedral.

The tower is located in a corner of the shaded 'Place Salinis' square with the monument to the fallen soldiers of the first world war. The square is planted with Nettle trees (Celtis) that thrive in a dry and warm climate.

15

Escalier Monumental

Like the Pousterles, these monumental staircases from 1863 form a connection between the historic upper part of Auch and the newer lower part of the town. 233 steps have to be climbed to bridge a total 35 meter height difference.

On the upper terrace in front of the fountain is the artwork 'Observation du Temps' (the contemplation of time) by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa in 1992. The bronze text of this artwork refers to the biblical flood and recalls the disastrous floods in Auch from 1977. The glass eye of this artwork looks symbolically towards heaven. The entire artwork consists of two parts, the second part (the 'Abri Impossible') is located on the opposite side of the river Gers.

16

Statue de d'Artagnan

On the lower terrace of the 'Escalier Monumental' is the statue of d'Artagnan, the most notorious musketeer and probably the most famous personality from Gascony.

17

Abri impossible

At the end of the pedestrian bridge across the river is the complementary part of the artwork by Jaume Plensa called 'Abri impossible' or 'the impossible shelter'. It is a thick and gloomy and certainly not a beautiful monument, but that is intentional. It is a tribute to all those people who died in the disastrous floods in 1977. The monument symbolizes a shelter that, however, could not protect against the rising water level.

There is a small church next to this monument of which the location of the round window indicates the incredibly high water level during those floods.

18

Jardin Ortholan

The footpath to this public garden leads along the river Gers. From here there is a beautiful view over the river on the historic center of Auch.

After the Jardin Ortholan you can turn right into the Avenue d'Alsace and about 200 meters further to the Place de Verdun. This avenue is a beautiful shaded avenue with all kinds of shops and restaurants.

19

Statue de l'Amiral Villaret de Joyeuse

The statue of this French admiral, born in Auch in 1747, has been standing here since 1884. In the original statue the admiral had a bronze ax in his hand, but it was stolen several times and placed back again.

20

Musée des Jacobins

In this Jacobin museum there are exhibitions about archeology, paintings, sculptures, costumes and a large collection of pre-Columbian art (the second largest in France).

The museum was founded in 1793 and is one of the oldest museums in France. More than 20,000 works are on display, of which around 800 are part of the pre-Columbian art collection.

21

Tour Romaine

The Roman Tower or also the Tower of Caesar. Caesar has never been the owner of this tower, nor has he ever lived in the tower (as far as is known), but the tower was named Caesar in the 18th century because the foundation of this tower dates back to the Gallo-Roman era. The tower can no longer be visited nowadays, but now houses a few residential apartments.

22

Eglise Saint-Orens

This church was built in 1825 and is named after one of the first bishops of Auch. It is a not so large but nice church with three ships, beautiful rows of support columns and magnificent stained glass windows. The original organ is still regularly used for concerts.

23

Maison de Gascogne

The Maison de Gascogne was the former grain hall and was built from 1837 to 1843 from stone from local quarries. The facade is decorated with images of the 'Caduceus', the staff of Mercury, the god of commerce from Roman mythology. The Caduceus is formed by a staff that is wound by two snakes and crowned with two wings. The Caduceus in general symbolizes peace, protection and healing, and has been used (especially in the United States) as a medical symbol to date (not to be confused with the Rod of Asclepius in which one snake wraps itself around a staff).

Inside this 1000 m2 market hall you can admire the beautiful wooden roof construction supported by stone pillars. Nowadays there is a varied program of cultural and commercial events in this building all year round.

24

Statue de l'Intendant Antoine Mégret d'Étigny

Antoine Mégret d'Étigny (1719-1767) was appointed as Intendant of Auch in 1751, an administrative function which today would be something like a provincial chief.

Today we would call Antoine Mégret d'Étigny a great and successful manager who was not afraid to take a risk. In and around Auch, he initiated many road construction and urban projects and he himself pre-financed them. A tight control of the execution of the construction work was his trademark. He was often found on horseback early in the morning at the construction site, waiting for the craftsmen who arrived late for work. But with this attitude he also kicked many high-ranking people against the shins and stepped on their toes. But thanks to him, Auch is now what it is and therefore this statue to celibrate him.

25

Hôtel de ville / Mairie

The town hall of Auch was one of the projects of Antoine Mégret d'Étigny. Construction work began in 1760, but Antoine Mégret d'Étigny died in 1767 before the building was completed in 1777.

The building is on the list of historical monuments and has its own theatre with 600 seats, lodges and beautiful ceiling paintings where performances are still regularly held.

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