Local Information – Leisure Activities
There are a number of challenging courses in the Gers and we have 2 excellent ones within a 20 minute drive.
- Embats Golf Club is an 18-hole course spread out over 5 small wooded valleys. With wonderful panoramic views, the club offers teaching, driving range and an excellent and inexpensive restaurant.
- Chateau de Palanne Golf Club is the second possibility and is just 15 minutes away from Le Marcade. This 18-hole course is located in rolling countryside around a lovely 18th century chateau, is an interesting and challenging course with driving range and also has an excellent restaurant during the summer months.
Other courses are:
Le Guinlet GC at Eauze(45 mins) 18 holes www.golfdeguinlet.com
Fleurance GC at Fleurance(50 mins) 9 holes www.golf-fleurance.com
Golf de Gascogne at Masseube(30 mins) 9 holes www.golfdegascogne.eu
Chateau de Barbet at Lombez (55 mins) 9 holes http://www.golf-barbet.com
The Pyrenees is a much lesser known ski resort than its counterparts in the Alps but there are several excellent resorts for all levels of skier with the distinct advantages of significantly lower prices and far less people. Some of the best resorts in the Pyrenees are well within striking distance of Le Marcade. Domaine de Tourmalet – La Mongie is in fact the largest resort in the Pyrenees and is only 1 hour and 20 minutes drive away. It lies South of Tarbes and Lourdes and is the second oldest ski resort in France after Chamonix. It has 42 lifts and 69 pistes covering 100km and culminating at a height of 2500 metres.
Not far from Tourmalet is Cauterets, a traditional Pyrenean town that has developed as a ski resort, with 24 pistes. Then there is Saint Lary Soulan almost on the Spanish border, having some of the highest runs in the Pyrenees, up to 2500 metres.
Driving times from Le Marcade are:
Tourmalet- Las Mongie 1 hr 20 minutes
Gourette 2hrs 5 minutes
Le Pierre St Martin 2 hrs 25 minute
Peyragudes 1 hr 52 minutes
Luz Ardiden 2 hrs 11 minutes
Cauterets 1hr 48 minutes
St Lary 1 hr 42 minutes
Piau-Engaly 2 hrs 8 minutes
Water is surprisingly quite a feature in the Gers with its many lakes and rivers, so sailing, windsurfing, canooing and waterskiing are all possible within a 35 minute drive from Le Marcade.
32300-Mirande Lake (15 mins) CONTACT
32290-Lupiac Lake (20 mins)
32410-Beaucaire(30 mins) www.canoesdebeaucaire.com
32340-Thoux lake (20 mins) email@example.com
32170-Mielan Lake (15 mins) www.koifaire.com
32290-Lupiac Lake (20 mins)
32410-Castera Verduzan Lake (30 mins)
32400-Cahuzac-sur-Adour (35 mins)
Further afield waterskiers of every level of skill will enjoy the extensive facilities at TNG – Teleski Nautique du Gers situated at 32300-L’Isle-Jourdain about 1hr 20 minutes away
There are also 2 excellent waterparks; one very close by at Mirande the other on the outskirts of Toulouse:
Ludina Astarac Waterpark – 32300-Mirande with pools, whirlpools , hydro-massage and snack bar.
Aqualudia Waterpark at 31600-Muret with pools, waterslides and health spa. Maybe not in the Gers but worth mentioning as this is one of the biggest in SW France with really excellent facilities and over 1400 sq metres of pools.
Health and Beauty:
CHAÎNE THERMALE DU SOLEIL- Barbotan-les-Thermes – 55 mins drive
COMPLEXE THERMAL – 32410 Castera-Verduzan- 34 mins drive
CENTRE THERMAL DE LECTOURE – 32700 Lectoure – 1hr 5 mins
LA SOURCE NATURE SPA – 32230 MARCIAC – 20 MINS DRIVE
The principal musical event of the year is the International Jazz Festival which takes place every year during the first 2 weeks of August in Marciac. This is a 14 day extravaganza with leading jazz musicians from all over the world taking part. Le Marcade is just a 20 minute drive away from Marciac so it provides an excellent base if you wish to attend. However there are several other events throughout the summer months catering for all tastes.
Eclats de Voix Festival at Auch for 2 weeks during June – 30 mins drive
Tempo Latino Festival at Vic Fezensac last weekend of July – 20 mins drive
Country and Western Festival at Mirande for ? days in Mid July – 15 mins drive www.country-musique.com
Classical concerts throughout July and August at the beautiful town of Saint Bertrand de Commingue – 1hr 15 mins drive
The Bandas Y Penas modern music festival in Condom for 3 days in Mid May – 45 mins drive www.festival-de-bandas.com
The Festival Cuivro Foliz (Brass Band Music) in Fleurance usually 3rd week in July – 50 mins drive www.cuivrofoliz.com
One of the nicest features of French rural life is the weekly market which takes place in most of the towns and villages. From Le Marcade you can get to one every day of the week within a 30 minute drive. The larger ones in particular are worth visiting like the Saturday market in Auch on the banks of the river Gers. The usual fruit, vegetable, cheese, fish and butchers stalls are all present along with clothes, jewellery, basket work, wine, Armagnac, Foie Gras, freshly cooked Paella in giant pans and crepes cooked to order at the road side – heavenly.
Full details of all the markets are included in the information pack at the house.
For major stores and boutique shopping the bigger towns of Auch, Condom, Tarbes, Pau and Toulouse are where you should go. The latter 2 are both about 1hr 20 minutes away but are well worth a visit for a full day out.
For those interested in antiques and bric a brac there’s plenty to go at also. Apart from Antiquaires (antique dealers) there are many Brocantes (bric a brac dealers) in the area as well as frequent ‘ Vide Greniers’ ( literally empty the attic) or what we know more commonly as car boot sales. These are widely advertised in every village a couple of weeks in advance and you just need to keep an eye out for them as you drive through.
A Selection of other Interests:
Parachuting at Condom (40 minutes)
Historic & modern car racing at Nogaro (45 minutes) from March to October www.circuit-nogaro.com
Bull fighting notably at Whitsun in Vic Fezensac (20 minutes)
Surfing on the Atlantic coast (1.5 to 2h away) notably Hossegor and Biarritz
Paragliding and Microlite at St Clar (60 minutes)
Horse riding: Centre Équestre de Pouylebon at Pouylebon (5 minutes)
Horse riding (English speaking) for young and old at Valence-sur-Baise (35 minutes) www.ecuriesarmagnac.free.fr