Nérac and the Gers Region – Part 1

After our brief stay in Brive-la-Galliard, it was on to our destination, the Gers region. This region is in southwest France and although we visited just a small part on its northern edge, we enjoyed it greatly.
The impetus for this trip was mostly a book: “Duck Season” by David McAninch. Now I’m not generally a fan of the “American moves to a small town in a foreign country and learns the meaning of life” genre of books, but this one was great. The Gers is famous for the quantity and quality of the ways it serves duck and Mr. McAninch writes about the ways that ducks pervade life in the Gers: hunting ducks, raising ducks, cooking ducks, eating ducks, stuffing ducks to get foie gras, etc., etc. It all sounded interesting, so off we went with Mary & Gilles, our ever-patient friends.
Our base here was just outside the town of Nérac. From there we visited local towns but, oddly enough, had no duck – that had to wait until we visited Toulouse. But this area is beautiful, with lots of interesting things to see, and we’re glad we visited.

Moulin de Bapaumes

Our home in this beautiful area was a B & B named “Moulin de Bapaumes.” Now, I have not always been a fan of B&Bs, but we hit the jackpot with Moulin de Bapaumes; it sets the standard for what a B&B should be. Run by Danny and René, it has beautiful rooms and a beautiful setting. These two gentlemen know everything about the area and so offered recommendations on places to go, things to see, restaurants to try, and every recommendation was spot on. Honestly, I can’t praise them enough, but I can say that this previously B&B-phobe will be back to Moulin de Bapaumes in the years to come.

Laurie, Danny and René at Moulin de la Bapuame. These gentlemen could not have been better hosts!

Laurie looking out our window in the B&B

Now for some pictures of our rambles around Nérac…


This town is tiny, with maybe ten houses. But it has one cool place to see, and one rather interesting house. The cool place to see:

It’s a fortress, right? Built to defend the town and surrounding area, right? Yes and no. It was originally built to defend the area, but soon after its construction, the main interior area was turned into a church. This probably occurred about ten centuries ago. For many years it fell into disuse and disarry, but a German architect, Herman Schmitz, became interested in restoring this rare fortified church and spent many summers here leading the effort. Now, the interior looks like this:

One of two chapels in the church.

The second chapel.

The architect must love Villenueve-Mezin, as he also spent summers building a home here, on the remains of a small chateau. From the street, here is the home of him and his family:

Not exactly a restoration! The building does retain original walls and some original windows, but it has been modernized completely. Honestly, it’s beautiful, and in this village, would be a place of complete calm and quiet. Here’s a view of the countryside from Villenue-Mezin.

That’s a lot to write about such a small village, but this village has some special places; we’re glad we could make the trip to see it.
More on the area around Nérac, Real Soon Now.

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