Wednesday Wanderings: Sunflowers to the left of me, Grape Vines to the Right...

Sunflowers and wine vines- I'm stuck in the middle of my happy place in the Gers.

Last Friday, Jean-Luc and I spent the night in the Gers Region of France...seeing that we were ushered out of the house by now eighteen-year-old Elvire, who recently celebrated her birthday AND passed her BAC (the French version of the SATs). This fall, Elvire will be attending university in Canada. (What are we going to do? Wasn't she just twelve yesterday? Who is going to steal my shoes? How do I say goodbye?) Alas, Elvire, now of legal age, wanted to have a party sans les parental units and we trust her. I found a reasonably priced chambre d'hôte near Condom. (Yes, Condom). We set out the house rules and then went on our merry way, crossing our fingers behind our backs. (Will the house still be standing when we return? Will it be a pigpen? What if...)

En route: after winding down the country roads, our first stop was the beautiful Abbaye de Flaran,
a former monastery and now an art gallery.

An interesting (and amusing) animal art exhibit in the old church.
It was interdit (forbidden) to take photos of the upstairs, where the exhibition featured
some extraordinary pieces from some very well-known names:
Dali, Renoir, Monet, to name a few.

From the Abbaye, we went to the village of Condom. The guys on the left?
Those are the musketeers! We wanted to tour an Armagnac distillery, but, unfortunately, they'd closed.

So we wandered the village.

Finally, we made it our chambre d'hôte – La Dame Courties in St. Puy.  Priced right at 86 euro/night including breakfast,
our stay was made even more perfect by the welcoming warmth of the owner.

Plus, she told us about a local Armagnac distillery that was still open! We put our bags in our gorgeous room...

With mon Jean-Luc, we made our way to MONLUC, makers of wine and Armagnac.

After a tour of the cave...

We were treated to a tasting – the wines, champagnes, and Armagnacs of MONLUC.

Our night was capped off at a lovely restaurant – Chez Vous – in
the small village of St. Puy. I had risotto with scallops.
Jean-Luc had a regional specialty – pan seared Foie Gras.
Our wine? We ordered the local selection – a Monluc rosé.

The night was wonderful! Lovely! Beautiful! Romantic!

Unfortunately, we had to leave at 7:30 am, right after a quick breakfast, to get back to Toulouse for an early appointment at the bank with Elvire. And, thankfully, the house was in one piece upon our return and clean (too clean?) with no signs of a party, save for the bags in the garbage can.

If you haven't explored the area yet, I hope that, one day in the future, 
you're able to discover the beauty of the Gers.


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