Most of my family now live in France so I visit the country quite a lot but this year I got to see a new area, the Gers region which is South-West France. We flew into Toulouse airport where we were greeted by my family ready to take us to our hotel in Auch. The reason we were here was to see my brother get married.
The weather thankfully stayed sunny and warm the whole time we were there. Our first evening we went into Auch to a lovely little Italian. This place was a hidden gem; you entered into an inconspicuous looking doorway but were soon blown away by what was inside. There’s a little Italian style scooter out the front of the bar area. It seems in the summer months that the restaurant seat you outside so you have to walk down and through some stairs out into a beautiful courtyard. I can only imagine this was once a place of religion as the outside of the courtyard had cloisters. The food was good, expensive but good. It was here that I tried the traditional dish for this part of the country, duck heart. Please take my word for this but don’t ever try it. It was horrid and the taste just doesn’t leave your mouth despite eating and drinking other items.
That evening we were treated to a rare sight of some airplane wings being transported along a road for assembly. Airbus have their headquarters here and often close a lot of the local roads at night time for transportation. It was an impressive sight to see, you don’t really understand the size of these wings until you are right up next to them.
The next day we had some free time before the official wedding ceremony at the mayor’s office so we took the opportunity to explore Auch. The sun was out and the town looked beautiful under the golden rays, we had a wander around some of the older streets and down to the D’Artangan statue and the fountains. You get a fantastic view from here looking out over the French countryside but before we knew it we had to get back to the hotel to get changed for the ceremony.
There was only a few of us invited to the mayors service, close family and friends only as this was a formality more so than the actual full ceremony. In France you have to get married at the local Mayors office, where my brother lives is a small village of fewer than 100 people living there so if everyone invited to the wedding turned up this would double the population! The service was quick and lovely; the mayor played some wedding music and decorated some of the chairs for the bride and groom. After this, we had a gathering on the village green where some of the locals came out for some snacks and a toast to the newly married couple.
On Saturday it was time for the big ceremony with all the friends and family there. This was being held at the bride’s family estate which is a large house with acres of land and stables in the middle of the countryside. It’s a perfectly idyllic setting for a country wedding. The bridesmaids, me included, all got ready at another house where the host put on nibbles and plenty of champagne for us all. The champagne was certainly required as only a week earlier I had been informed that I was required to dance down the aisle…!
The wedding went off without a hitch, the sun shined down on the courtyard all day and everyone seemed to be having a great time. We had afternoon tea in one of the meadows on some long picnic benches before sitting down later for a BBQ. The alcohol flowed freely all night and although this led to some people being waaaaaay too drunk, looking at bride and groom here, everyone had a fantastic time.
I’m sure waking up in the morning there were a few sore heads but unfortunately, this was the end of our weekend of celebrations and we had to make our way to the airport. We had some time to kill beforehand so actually went into the centre of Toulouse as we have never visited before. Regrettably, we didn’t have very long to explore, we grabbed some lunch from a restaurant in a small square before having a walk along the waterside. Toulouse is a place I would love to spend more time exploring, the buildings here are truly beautiful and you can understand how it got its nickname of the Pink City.
France is a really beautiful country and it never ceases to amaze me how the different areas really are so diverse. I hope to be back and exploring soon enough now that my brother and sister-in-law live there.