Gascony (in Gascon: Gasconha) is a cultural region south-west of France and an ancient province situated on the current territory of the departments of Landes, Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées and, for partie, from other departments of the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitania, as well as the comarque du Val d’Aran (Pyrenees), in the north of the autonomous community of Catalonia (Spain).

Successively called Aquitaine, Novempopulanie, Vasconie and then Gascogne, it disappeared as a proper political entity when, in 1063, it was attached to the duchy of Aquitaine; however, the name of Gascogne was still used until the French Revolution. A natural region of France located between the Atlantic Ocean, Garonne and Pyrenees, it is distinguished by its cultural identity founded on the historical evolution of Aquitaine peoples, from the Proto-Basque language, towards a Gascon people, characterized by a Roman, Occitan-Roman or “Aquitano-Roman” language (with strong specificities). It constitutes the linguistic air of the Gascon.

Gascony is the land of d’Artagnan, who inspired Alexandre Dumas’s character d’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, as well as the land of Cyrano de Bergerac, the eponymous character of the play by Edmond Rostand. It is also home to Henry III of Navarre, who later became King Henry IV of France.

Gascony is limited by the Atlantic Ocean (western limit) and the Pyrenees Mountains (southern limit); as the area of Gascon language, it extends to the Garonne (North) and close to the Ariège (river) (East) from the Pyrenees to the confluence of the Garonne with the Ariège. The other most important river is Adour, along with its tributaries Gave de Pau and Gave d’Oloron.

It is currently divided between the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine (departments of Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, southwestern Gironde and southern Lot-et-Garonne) and the region of Occitanie (departments of Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées, southwestern Tarn-et-Garonne and western Haute-Garonne).

The most important towns are:

  • Auch, the historical capital
  • Bayonne, with both Basque and Gascon identity
  • Bordeaux, crossed by the Garonne
  • Dax
  • Lourdes
  • Luchon
  • Mont-de-Marsan
  • Pau, with both Bearnese and Gascon identity
  • Tarbes

See here full travel guide: modern Occitania and Nouvelle-Aquitaine

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

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