The traditional name of Gascony nowadays refers to modern-day French departments of the Gers, the Landes and the Hautes Pyrénées. To the west, it’s bordered by the Atlantic ocean and to the south by the Spanish border. The name ‘Gascony’ conjures up a rich agricultural area, warmth, sunshine and a traditional rural way of life. It’s one of the great gourmet regions of France and produces some of the country’s finest wines. There are fortified villages, sections of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, and home to the story of d’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers.
Formerly part of the provinces of Quercy and Languedoc, this Occitanie region in the southwest of France is traversed by the Garonne and Tarn rivers from which it takes its name. It’s one of the most picturesque agricultural départements of the country. For the visitor, there are charming medieval villages and towns to explore, plus the great draw-card of outstanding gastronomic delights, including game and poultry, fine local wines, and in particular the local specialty, Armagnac.
Sitting on the flat marshes of the Camargue in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Provence, this fortified medieval town is regarded as the purest example of 13th century military architecture extant in France. The rectilinear town is surrounded by high, crenellated ramparts, four corner towers and numerous fortified gates, all completely intact.
“I dream of designing a magnificent vessel for Paris that symbolises France’s profound cultural vocation.”
With these words, the famous Canadian-American architect, creator of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum (1997), gave his blessing to the opening, in October 2014, of his latest masterpiece, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. We were lucky enough to be in Paris that week and joined perhaps 10,000 others for its first open weekend.
Built in 1859, this former elevated railway viaduct came into Paris from the east, terminating at Place de la Bastille in the 12th arr. After the creation of the RER A line in 1969 the Viaduc de Bastille became redundant, gradually declining into another example of neglect and decay that was slated for demolition. Instead, under a bold urban renewal program by the City of Paris in the 1980s, the Viaduc’s fortunes were revived.