Description – Saint James way – From Moissac to Aire sur l’Adour – Eco Range

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CA14-ECO  Saint James way from Moissac to Aire sur l’Adour   The Via Podiensis is one of the four main pilgrimage routes to the Spanish sanctuary of Santiago de Compostela from Le Puy en Velay, a Marian sanctuary since the fifth century. Since the Middle Ages, millions of pilgrims have left from Le Puy to journey […]

CA14-ECO  Saint James way from Moissac to Aire sur l’Adour


The Via Podiensis is one of the four main pilgrimage routes to the Spanish sanctuary of Santiago de Compostela from Le Puy en Velay, a Marian sanctuary since the fifth century. Since the Middle Ages, millions of pilgrims have left from Le Puy to journey to the Spanish Galicia, at the extremity of the Iberian Peninsula, to venerate the relics of Saint James, one of Christ’s apostles. This pilgrimage is today registered on the World Heritage list of UNESCO. After visiting in Moissac, the St Pierre’s abbey that holds master pieces of romanesque art, such as the tympanum, a12th C. representation of Apocalypse and the cloister, you will join Auvillar on the banks of the Garonne river. You are in the Gers department, the heart of Gascogne. You are in the country of bien vivre, land of Armagnac and foie gras. Gascogne has a rich history, famous for the Cadets de Gascogne who were immortalized by Alexandre Dumas and his hero d’Artagnan. The region is cris-crossed by the pilgrimage routes which run from Arles and Le Puy, joining together in the Pyrenees Mountains. Chapels, abbeys, churches, and other vestiges – such as the Bridge of Artigues and the Abbatial of La Romieu – stand as a symbol of the faith that urged the pilgrims to Compostela.



Day 1 : Arrival at MOISSAC – Moissac is an important stop on the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela. Saint Pierre’s Abbey holds master pieces of Roman art, such as the Tympanum, a 12th century representation of the Apocalypse, and the cloister, an image of lace carved out of stone. Half-board accommodation in a 2-star hotel

Day 2 : MOISSAC – AUVILLAR (21 km – 5.30 hour walk). This phase is an exceedingly pleasant one, especially in summer’s heat, as you will be walking in the shade along the water’s edge! At Moissac, you will find the Garonne’s side-canal and follow it for several kilometres. At the confluent of the Tarn and Garonne rivers, you will take to the banks of the Golfech River’s canal, which runs parallel to the Garonne. Leaving the waters, you will begin walking straight south towards Espalais, where you will cross the Garonne by a hanging-bridge to reach Auvillar on the other bank. This little village is an ancient harbor, and Sainte Catherine’s Chapel, on the riverside, reminds us of the port’s activity and prosperity in the last centuries. Built on a promontory, Auvillar continues its story into present day, bringing with it such old structures as Saint Pierre’s Church, the clock tower and the gorgeous Halle aux Grains (corn exchange) – Half-board accommodation in a 2 star hotel

Day 3 : AUVILLAR –LECTOURE (32,5 km – 9 hour walk). You will cross La Lomagne, an area of fertile hills and an important producer of garlic, to step into the region of Gers, whose name alone evokes images of country cooking and the art du bien vivre. Once outside of Auvillar, you will make your way to Bardigues, with its 13th century fortified castle. On your way to Arrats, you will pass through the lovely village of Saint Antoine. You will cross the old barrierbridge to Arrats, and continue through Flamarens where, sitting high above the village, an old château undergoes restoration. You will arrive finally at Miradoux, a village with a beautiful church built on the ruins of an ancient château, and a gorgeous 16th century covered market. You will pass quite close to the château of Gachepouy and will pass through the village of Castet-Arrouy, whose 16th century church was completely decorated at the end of the 19th century by a local painter. You will then make your way to the elevated village of Saint Avit-Frandat and pass close by the château of La Cassagne before reaching Lectoure, the principal town of La Lomagne, perched on a promontory above the valley of the Gers. The city has a very rich Roman past that you can discover at the Musée Gallo-Roman. The Saint Gervais Cathedral was built on a Roman Temple. Half-board accommodation in a small hotel with all conveniences

Day 4 : LECTOURE – LA ROMIEU (19 km – 5 hour walk). You will leave Lectoure by way of the 13th century Diane’s Fountain, and will cross the Gers. You will walk across green slopes to the hamlet of Espasot and then to the village of Marsolan, which has a lovely 16th century church and square bell-tower. You will continue your hike to the hamlet of Cauboue, where you will turn off towards La Romieu, taking a quick detour by the Romanesque-style Tressens Chapel. Another church of interest is that of La Romieu, sitting in contrast to the open country of Gers. The city was once encircled by fortified walls and moats, of which few remains have been preserved. You will see the main square of the city, decorated by archways and beautiful old homes, as well as the cloister and the eastern tower of the abbey church, the only remnants of the structure built during the 14th century by The Cardinal of Aux, cousin to Pope Clément V. The Cardinal tower is all that remains of his palace. Lodging and breakfast in a house of the village

Day 5 : LA ROMIEU – LARRESINGLE (20 km – 5.30 hour walk). After leaving La Romieu, you will head to Castelnau sur l’Auvignon. This village was severely damaged during the last war and only one of the towers has been preserved on the château, located near the 14th century church. You will cross the Auvignon Valley and walk up to the hamlet of Le Bardieu and the Romanesque chapel Sainte Germaine, situated on the opposite hillside. You will pass near Le Château Busca before reaching Condom, an old city which was once the headquarters of an important Benedictine abbey. We recommend visiting Saint Pierre Cathedral, an imposing Gothic monument of the 16th century, with a square bell-tower and a lovely cloister. You might also stroll through the old streets of this medieval city and discover the private hotels and the Armagnac Museum. After crossing La Baïse, a river that flows through Condom and helped the city develop an independent economy with the transportation of Armagnac to Bordeaux, you will plunge into the beautifully sloping landscape of vineyards to find the quaint fortified village of Larresingle Half-board accommodation in a 2 star hotel

Day 6 : LARRESINGLE – EAUZE (24 km – 6.30 hour walk). As people have been doing for 700 years, you will leave the fortified city going down to the Osse River that you will cross over on the Artigues Bridge, a one of a kind Romanesque bridge of uneven arches! You will skirt around the hamlet of Routgès and in front of a chapel, and will cross the hamlet of Pagès before joining the Château Lassalle Baqué and Montréal. This little village is situated on a picturesque spot overlooking the Auloue Valley. Almost entirely destroyed during the wars of the religions, it still holds a lovely fortified Gothic church and a nice public square surrounded by old homes. You will continue through the countryside to the hamlet of Lamothe, where you will catch an ancient railway that will lead you towards Eauze. You will stop before arriving in the village, however, to overnight in a hotel next to a golf course – Half-board accommodation in a 1 star hotel with private facilities.

Day 7 : EAUZE – NOGARO (24 km – 6.30 hour walk). You will walk the quick jaunt to Eauze, a charming little village famous for its Armagnac liquor. You will pass through the Place d’Armagnac, surrounded by arcaded homes, including that of Jeanne d’Albret. The square takes on life and animation during the market days. This phase brings you through the department of Gers, walking through valleys and over vineyard-covered slopes, through corn fields and forests. You will reach the village of Manicet, once home to a hospital for pilgrims. You will next arrive in Nogaro, where you will overnight – Half-board accommodation in a 2 star hotel

Day 8 : NOGARO – AIRE SUR L’ADOUR (30 km –8 hour walk). In the morning, you will discover Nogaro, a village built along the length of the main road. You will visit the Sainte Austinde Church and the ruins of the cloister. Then you will head to Lanne Soubiran. You will cross the hilly countryside to Arblade le Bas and descend into the lush valley of l’Adour, passing by Barcelonne du Gers. You will then arrive in Aire sur l’Adour. The lower city holds the Saint Jean Baptiste Cathedral, the ancient rectory (today the town-hall), and a beautiful octagonal grain market. You will walk up to the Sainte Quitterie Church to see its lovely Gothic portal and, in the crypt, the gorgeous 4th century Sainte Quitterie sarcophagus of white marble
Half-board accommodation in a 2-star hotel

Day 9 : AIRE SUR L’ADOUR. End of tour after breakfast


From April to middle of October but be careful this trail is more and more popular and we recommend to reserve earlier to get (the best) rooms. Best time is May, June and September

What’s included?
  • 7 overnight stops in 1or 2 star hotel or guesthouse on a half-board basis.
  • 1 overnight stop in chambre d’hotes (bed & breakfast) at La Romieu- restaurant in the village
  • Luggage transfer between accommodations along the trail.
  • A set of maps (1/25 000 scale) or topoguide (with translation) with the route marked on and detailed route notes describing the trail.
  • A daily itinerary together with information about facilities and places of interest along the trail.
  • Phone mergency assistance 24/24

Visa fees – transportation fees to and from the walk area – Insurance (strongly recommended on all trips) – Transfers except those mentioned above – Drinks – Entrance fees – Additional meals – Spending of personal nature e.g. laundry, souvenirs, phone calls, are not included

Getting there and away

By train : several trains a day from Paris- Montparnasse station (TGV trains to Agen, connection to Moissac)
By car : Go to Bordeaux or Toulouse along motorways and follow the A62 motorway. Exit at Castelsarrasin to reach Moissac
Where to park : several free unguarded car parks in Moissac

Walk difficulty

Grade 3 – walks of between 5 and 8 hours a day with ascents up to 700 m. Some hiking experience is advisable. A reasonable level of fitness and some stamina are required for these walks. You may cover long distances in remote countryside and the terrain will be rough underfoot. In mountainous areas you will encounter some sustained ascents and descents.