Walking the Via Podiensis from Lectoure to Air-sur-l'Adour
From Lectoure to Aire-sur-l’Adour, the 5th section of Via Podiensis brings us deep into lands of tradition and undulating cultivated landscapes. Here, the Camino starts in Le Gers département, both home to foie gras and to vineyards producing the famous Armagnac brandy. Approaching Aire-sur-l’Adour, the landscape gradually changes into crop fields and pinewoods as we enter Les Landes area. Architectural heritage and history are also part of the journey, almost everywhere along the Camino!
This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
As you enter the town of Condom the first thing that will grab your attention is the dominating feature of the Cathedral on the skyline of the town. The Cathedral of St. Peter from the 16th Century has both Romanesque and Gothic features and as central point in the town is a must visit. The impressive Cathedral however is not the only talking point about Condom, in fact it is the capital of Armagnac, so if you are partial, or not, to a tipple of this wine brandy why not visit the Armagnac Museum to find out about its production.
Montreal du Gers
A typical bastide town of the region and listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France, once you enter the old town and main square it does not disappoint. The original town square and surrounding streets are very well preserved. Just off the town square you will find the 13th century Church of Sainte-Marie should you need some time for peaceful contemplation. Or if you prefer to relax and people watch then grab a seat at one of the cafe’s in the arches around the square and watch the world go by. If you are feeling energetic you may also like to take a 2km stroll out of town to the ruins of of the Church of Saint-Pierre-de-Genens which was mostly destroyed during the religious wars in France, but a great spot for budding photographers!
Aire sur l’Adour
The Le Puy Camino circumvents the town of Aire sur l’Adour rather than going directly through it but it is well worth the small detour into town for a stop over. The town itself is split between the lower section that sits alongside the banks of the Adour river and the upper section that slopes up from the river bank. In the lower section you will find Aire Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St John the Baptist. With origins from the 11th Century, you can clearly see the influence of time and renovations that took place in the 14th and 17th century. In the upper section of the town then you find the Gothic Church of St Quiteria which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here in the crypt lies the splendid, white marble sarcophagus of St Quiteria, dating from the 4th century!
Lectoure to Aire Sur L'adour
Le Puy Camino
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Lectoure is a pretty fortified town that keeps history alive and where visitors can take time to visit the old impressive cathedral, the castle of the Earls of Armagnac, the 18th tannery, the archaeological museum and more. Visitors can also treat themselves to the natural spas or simply enjoy strolling around the narrow streets of this market town set in the Gers valley.
Day 2 31.3km
Leaving Lectoure, we head down to river Le Gers which we cross over before continuing through the countryside. We then reach Marsolan and its Romanesque church. It is then a very enjoyable stroll between woodland and open countryside until we reach La Romieu and its UNESCO World Heritage collegiate church.
Day 3 16.5km
MONTREAL DU GERS
Today is a relatively short day and while the first half is mainly spent on dirt tracks through the gently undulating countryside dotted with lakes and streams, the second half brings history to us. Indeed, passing by Larresingle (known as "the little Carcassone"), lovers o fold stone buildings will be bowled over. Finally, we arrive in Montreal du Gers and its timber houses, proud of being the biggest vineyard of Armagnac, the famous brandy.
Day 4 16.7km
MONTREAL DU GERS
From Montreal du Gers, Via Podiensis heads south towards Eauze. The first 8 kilometres are spent between countryside and vineyards, and the first hamlet we cross is Lamothe. The Camino then runs through the quiet vineyards and countryside of Armagnac. The walk ends up on Place d’Armagnac, in Eauze, another beautiful village and official capital of Armagnac since 1802!
Day 5 19.7km
We continue through the vineyards of Armagnac to reach the pretty town of Manciet, a historical point on the Camino as this is where, in the Middle-Ages, Pilgrims coming from Auch met those walking on Via Podiensis or Le Puy Route. The route then runs through the countryside and at the end of the day, we arrive in Nogaro.
Day 6 29.8km
AIRE SUR L'ADOUR
Today, the Landes influence is more and more obvious as vines become rarer and pine trees start to appear. We start our walking day mainly walking through cereal fields. The day is also punctuated with some of the prettiest villages and hamlets of the entire section with the likes of Lanne-Soubiran and Barcelonne-du-Gers. At the end of the walk, we enter Les Landes département in another charming town rich in history: Aire-sur-l’Adour.
AIRE SUR L'ADOUR
After breakfast, we bid you farewell.
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