"Gondrin" Gondrin by mke1963
Gondrin Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 2 photos
Gondrin, moreorless midway between Condom and Eauze is passed quickly by most, although perhaps they might stop to refuel at th gas station (several) or one of the shops (many) lining the high street: it is one of the very few towns - actually I can't think of any others! - where the main through route passes right along the high street. However, this is a bit misleading as originally the main road went straight ahead, through the old castelnau which is rarely seen. It is worth stopping for a while to look around these old streets away from the high street.
Gondrin has more history and more life than might be obvious from the window of your passing car, and most of the former can be found around the eastern end on and around the bluff, which the main road curves around. Note the house with the spectacular topiary on the left on this bend.
Originally, Gondrin was called Fezensac and the parish grouped together no less than seven former parrishes, making Gondrin one of the Gers bigger communes; it became the fief of the Pardaillan family in the Middle Ages.
Way before then, there is evidence of Roman occupation, as there is around most Tenareze towns and villages. Here, Roman treasurs were found at Pauillac and La Couture - incredibly by the same farmer! The objects are now on display in the Musee d'Agen; rather surprisingly, as Agen is in Lot-et-Garonne and Gondrin is in the Gers (Although next to each other Lot-et-Garonne and the Gers are even in different regions: the former is in Aquitaine, the latter in Midi-Pyrenees).
Gondrin was established as a castelnau at least as early as 1050, and in 1254 the castle was constructed - just a year before the nearby bastide town of Montreal-du-Gers was built by Alphonse de Poitiers.
The town developed under the Pardaillan family, and several of the family rose to prominent positions in the royal court and one even became a Vice-Admiral - not bad for a small town in the vineyards, far from the sea. In 1639, an Ursuline convent was built, and thanks to the presence of the powerful Pardaillans Gondrin also attracted artists and artisans who graced the town with graceful buildings, art, fountains and gardens. Today, nothing remains of the Chateau des Pardaillan, save for the base of one tower which is now the Post Office!
Gondrin's darkest hour was during the Revolution when it became renowned for parties arranged for and by those who instigated "The Terror". No-one can explain why! After the Revolution, Gondrin's population started to decline, and is now half what it was before. Even the appearance of the railway line in 1880 failed to revive the town. The railway closed in the 1960s although the track remained until just a few years ago; old railway bridges can be seen just to the east. Like other towns in the area, both Spanish and Italian immigrants helped to stem the flow of people away from the area, although these migrations were not without their share of communal tension.
Despite the loss of people, the town is very active and more dynamic than many in the area.
The countryside around Gondrin - especially east and west, are particularly beautiful areas, where - if you walk early in the morning (before 8am) or just after dusk - you are almost guaranteed to come across deer, rabbits, badgers and red squirrels among the vineyards, pastures and fields of sunflowers. The Syndicat d'Initiative in Gondrin can advise you on the many marked walking routes in the countryside here - or you could just stop, park, get out and wander in any direction.
Don'tbe put off by the slightly drab appearance of the high street: the charms and ambience starts just a few metres away in either direction.
[Unfortunately most of my photos of Gondrin seem to have disappeared; the photos on these pages are from the local area but not of Gondrin itself!]
The next town to the north is Montreal du Gers, while east is Mouchan, Larressingle and Condom.
West is Eauze.
- Pros:Old town charm, surrounding countryside
- Cons:The drab high street
- In a nutshell:Typical 'real' Gascon town
Right slap-bang in the middle of Gondrin is one of the area's best swimming pools. In a circular basin, surrounded by a... more travel advice
As well as the numerous Roman discoveries in the area (most notably in the next town of Eauze), the best evidence of... more travel advice
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