Samatan

Green tourism

From its many hills, Samatan, at the gates of Gascony and Toulouse, offers a great view on the Pyrenees with the pikes of Arbizon and Midi de Bigorre in the background. Its harmonious landscape, green and relaxed, is scattered with small woods and isolated farms in the huge check-board of the fields. This is why Samatan logically turned to green tourism with an emphasis on gastronomy and trekking.
The town has been equipped since the 1980S by a holiday village on the banks of a now renowned lake. It comprises a hotel nd adining rooms with a panoramic view over the lake. 2012 is an important year for the holiday centre as the lodgings will be
entirely refurbished while the outside greens have been renovated in the respect of environment. Among the novelties, a spa has been added to the many activities on offer while access for the disabled has been improved.

The leisure base - © Ville de SamatanThe goose, symbol of the town - © Ville de SamatanTown centre and Belleforest square - © Ville de Samatan
No previous stage
Population: 2,200
Department of Gers (32)

Economy : agriculture, crafts, tourism, markets.
Specialties : foie gras.
Sport : Lombez Samatan Club Rugby.
Celebrities : Francois de Belleforest (Renaissance poet),.
Festivals : patron saint fair (August), Antiques fair and foie gras fair (August), geenweek (March),.

Timeline

  • 10th century

    Samatan, fief of the Counts of Comminges, becomes a stronghold.
  • 1355

    Samatan is completely destroyed by the Black Prince.
  • 1443

    Samatan becomes French under King Louis XI.
  • 1528

    Samatan becomes a Royal town.
  • 1530

    Birth of poet Francois de Belleforest.
  • 1589

    Samatan is ravaged by the troop of Protestant captain De Sus.
  • 1770

    A flood of the Gers ravages the city.
  • 1814

    Samatan is occupied by general Wellington, the future winner of Waterloo.
  • 1860

    Construction of the grain Market Hall, one of the three big market halls inSamatan.
Bust of François de Belleforest in Samatan - © BastienM
No previous stage
Population: 2,200
Department of Gers (32)

Economy : agriculture, crafts, tourism, markets.
Specialties : foie gras.
Sport : Lombez Samatan Club Rugby.
Celebrities : Francois de Belleforest (Renaissance poet),.
Festivals : patron saint fair (August), Antiques fair and foie gras fair (August), geenweek (March),.

Samatan and cycling

Samatan is nicknamed the Mecca of foie gras and the capital of “pink gold”. But for Belgian cycling amateurs, there is another reason for going on a pilgrimage to Gers, and to Auch in particular. Indeed it was there in 1975 that Eddy Merckx won the 34th and last stage of his career on the Tour de France, a record which is still unequalled in the annals. For the time-trial, the five-time winner of the Tour was still wearing the Yellow Jersey, but struggled to hold off Bernard Thévenet, who had beaten him in the Dauphiné. A few days later, Merckx’s reign came to an end in the loops leading to the
resort of Pra-Loup.
Samatan also held a stage of the 2011 Route du Sud, won in a mass sprint by Dutchman Serfan van Dijk.
Among the riders from the Gers department, Nicolas Portal rode five Tours between 2004 and 2008 before joining the staff of Team Sky.

Gers-born Nicolas Portal still rides for Team Sky, but as a team director - © Presse Sports
No previous stage
Population: 2,200
Department of Gers (32)

Economy : agriculture, crafts, tourism, markets.
Specialties : foie gras.
Sport : Lombez Samatan Club Rugby.
Celebrities : Francois de Belleforest (Renaissance poet),.
Festivals : patron saint fair (August), Antiques fair and foie gras fair (August), geenweek (March),.

What to see

The fountain
Built in 1843, it served as a trough for horses. It has become the symbol of Samatan.

The Tourism office
Housed in a renovated half-timber house, it is also home to the Museum of foie gras.

Latour Castle
Three kms outside Samatan, the Latour Castle was rebuilt in 1697 from an older site
by a local governor named Pellegrin. Bought by the Belloc family, members of the
Parliament of Toulouse, it was refurbished in the Louis XVI style.
The main courtyard is flanked by two one-floor wings built at a later date than the
main hall to which they are attached. The central building is topped by two towers.
The whole castle is made of brick and covered by tile roofs. Inside, the large wrought
iron staircase is the work of Bertin of Samatan and dates from 1791.

Caumont Castle

Because of its setting and its elegant figure, it has been described as “a castle of the Loire in Toulouse Gascony”. Its massive body of red brick and its high slate roofs sticking out of a thick wood also make it look like a fairytale castle. A 50 ha park surrounds the building.
It was built by renowned Toulouse architect Nicolas Bachelier between 1525 and 1535 for Pierre Nogaret de la Valette, who fought in Italy with King Francis 1, and stayed in his family until 1708. It was also the birthplace of Jean-Louis Nogaret de la Vallete, Duke of Epernon, who became oene of France’s leading political figures in the 17th century. A fa vourite of King Henry III, he was with Henry IV when the soverign was murdered in 1610. He lived until the end of the reign of Loiuis XIII and ruled over a fifth of France as governor of Provence, Normandy, Angoulois, Aunis, Saintonge and Guyenne.

In Samatan, geeses are never very far - © Ville de Samatan
No previous stage
Population: 2,200
Department of Gers (32)

Economy : agriculture, crafts, tourism, markets.
Specialties : foie gras.
Sport : Lombez Samatan Club Rugby.
Celebrities : Francois de Belleforest (Renaissance poet),.
Festivals : patron saint fair (August), Antiques fair and foie gras fair (August), geenweek (March),.

The Capital of foie gras

Samatan made most of its reputation on its markets, now among the most active in the South-West of France. And the town’s foie gras market is at present considered the largest in the world for this production. The place is open to the professionals, but also to the general public and more generally to the gourmet wishing to buy fresh liver or duck and geese to cook preserved duck, aiguillettes or foie gras.
The traditional market, spreading over 2,400 m2, sells every Monday around five tons of meat and about 500 kilos of foie gras. Between October and December, sales can reach peaks of 20 tons of meat and two tons of duck and goose foie gras. The
market hall is air-conditioned to maintain a temperature of around 10 degrees at most in the summer period and a die-cut area is available to purchasers. Another hall was
built in 2009 for the export market and complies entirely with EU regulations. Once the foie gras market has closed down, the live poultry market takes over. The poultry hall is 2,500 m2 large and shelters chicken, hens, guinea fowls, rabbits, ducks, geese
and turkeys in a hectic cacophony. An open-air market is also held with some 200 travelling sellers plus 80 local craftsmen and shopkeepers.

Foie gras market - © Ville de SamatanPoultry market - © Ville de Samatan
No previous stage
Population: 2,200
Department of Gers (32)

Economy : agriculture, crafts, tourism, markets.
Specialties : foie gras.
Sport : Lombez Samatan Club Rugby.
Celebrities : Francois de Belleforest (Renaissance poet),.
Festivals : patron saint fair (August), Antiques fair and foie gras fair (August), geenweek (March),.
video16/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Samatan

Jersey wearers after the prologue

Classifications after the prologue

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