Day 11: Cycle route to Condom* and Éauze*

Today you will ride one gradual hill after another, a total assent and descent of 830 meters (2,700 feet) over the 60 kilometers from Lectourne to Condom to Eauze. Field will follow field. After Condom these are often vineyards, usually planted in grapes to make the distilled spirit Armagnac.

I strongly suggest that you do not just follow D7 all the way to Condom. The suggested route, while 4 km longer, is far less hilly, far less boring, and has less traffic. It also visits the important religious and historical abbey in La Romieu* (“Romieu” is a corruption of the Occitan – Southern France language – word for pilgrim, because the earliest pilgrims went to Rome). The Monastery was founded in 1062. Particularly interesting and unique are the decorations of the tower to the left of the altar. Two other short detours are to France’s smallest bastide, Laressingle*, and to the 4th century Roman villa at Séviac*.

From the west end of the main street of Lectourne before the white building, bear left and ride down the hill south-eastward. Turn right at the first intersection, D7, signed Condom and continue downhill to the stop sign. Turn right, north-west. This is still D7. Bear left and cross the railroad tracks and small stream, the Gers, that gives its name to this Department, now heading west. In about 8 kilometers turn right on D166 and follow about 7 km to La Romieu.* The Abbey is on the left at the entrance to the narrow street.

After a visit, just north of the town, turn left on D931, and follow west about 8 km to a road on the left, D204, signed “Caussens”. In not even a kilometer, turn right; there is probably a red and white pole for the GR65. In 600 meters bear left on the paved road and continue about 1 km to highway D7. Turn right and in 1.2 km enter Condom*. Condom is a charming town, worth a walking tour or an overnight stay. Visit the Cathedral* cloisters*, and armagnac museum. (gites, b&bs, hotels, camping, restaurants, food).

Condom, Department of Gers

From Condom follow D15 towards Montréal-du-Gers. After 4 kilometers, detour to the left up a small hill to Larressingle* (France’s smallest walled village, completely preserved (and restored) from the 13th century, listed as one of the most beautiful french villages. You will also find there working 1/3 scale war machines of the middle ages. To return to D15 head north, either by the cars parked on the right when you pass the Laressingle Sign, turning right on the first road or by riding north from the bastide between a house with two outside stairways and the rooster monument. Then bear left at the Y. Continue on D15 past Montreal (gites, b&bs, food).

Near Montreal-du-Gers, an artificial lake and beach

After descending west on D15 down the hill, turn left onto D29, signed Éauze. On D15, 50 meters from the turn, is a nice park with a picnic area and a swimming beach on a pond. After the turn onto D29, in 100 meters, turn right and make a 2 km total detour to a on a side road to the ruins of a large 4th century roman villa at Séviac*, if you will, a “plantation house”, including many spectacular original mosaic floors and vestiges of baths and an underground heating system. There is a small admissions charge. After you visit continue on the side road south and turn left at the end to return to D29. Follow D29 south to Éauze (pronounced Ay-oze), the one time roman capital of the region (priory, old houses; gites, b&bs, hotels, camping).

Grapes destined to make the local spirit, Armagnac

Link to Day 12: To Aire-sur-l-Adour