• Gascony has rightfully developed a strong reputation for rich, traditional southwestern food enjoyed with hearty wines and strong spirits at a slow pace. These and other traits are why this rural stretch of land has become one of our favorite corners in France. But it’s also easy to stereotype a region like this one and miss the broader pleasures it offers beyond its famous foie gras, armagnac, and magret de canard. During a last-minute getaway to Gascony, we spent a week sampling the traditional as well as the modern twists offered. No need to ignore one for the other. We…

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  • In the frenzied attempts to plan a last-minute getaway to Gascony, we stumbled across a new bed and breakfast that turned out to be the ideal combination of location and comfort for exploring the western part of the Gers Departement. Chez Brunet opened this season and is located just outside Gondrin. The B&B, or “chambres d’hôtes” is an old farmhouse that has been lovingly renovated by its owners, Andy and Pam, an English couple who began the work three years ago. The buildings are surrounded by fruit trees (apple, fig, nectarine, and peach). We contacted Andy and Pam on Thursday…

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  • On an early December weekend, I drove from Toulouse to Agen with my daughter to meet my wife at the train station. The official story I had been told was that she had rented a place somewhere for a quiet weekend to celebrate my 50th birthday. Instead, what unfolded was an epic surprise birthday party with old and new friends, armagnac, and the warm, generous culture of Gascony. Leaving from Agen, I wasn’t even entirely sure which direction I was driving, turned around by the labyrinth of old streets and round points. Eventually, I realized we were headed south, but…

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