While staying in Eauze we took time to visit some of the surrounding villages, starting with Montreal du Gers, a “Plus Beau Village de France” just 10 miles or so to the north east of Eauze.
Sitting on the banks of the Auzoue River, Montreal du Gers is an old bastide town dating back to 1255. It is organised around a small central square of arcades and the gothic collegiate church of Notre Dame (sometimes referred to as the Church of Saint Philippe et Saint Jacques). Unfortunately, we didn’t see the central square in it’s best light. It is used as the town car park and during our visit was packed with cars. It was a pity because if ever a square needed to be pedestrianised it is this one.
We paused in Montreal du Gers long enough to enjoy the small market on the square and walk a slow circuit of the place before moving on to another much smaller but more impressive village to the east, Larressingle. Overall, I didn’t rate Montreal du Gers. It certainly doesn’t have the charm one would ordinarily expect of a “Plus Beau Village de France”.
Notwithstanding the above, just outside Montreal du Gers is the small hamlet of Seviac and the remains of a 2nd century Roman villa, the ‘Villa Seviac’. This villa was a large and luxurious residence discovered by a local farmer in 1864 although it was neither explored nor excavated until the 1970’s. It is now a museum. Little is left of the villa’s original walls but many of it’s mosaics have been restored to their original splendour and they rank amongst the best of their kind in France.
NB We visited Montreal du Gers mid September 2022 but this blog was not completed and posted until 22 October – apologies.