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CASTELNAU-MAGNOAC

First time stage city
Municipality of Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Population: 800 (Magnoacais and Magnoacaises), 229,600 in the Hautes-Pyrénées.
Personalities: Antoine Dupont (rugby union), Arnaud d'Ossat (shepherd turned ambassador),
Specialities: black pork from Bigorre, black Gascon chicken from Astarac-Bigorre, duck breast in a casserole, pigeon salmis, alicuit or alycot (poultry offal stew), massacanat (omelette enriched with onion rings and pieces of veal), millasson and spit-roast cake (pastry)
Sport: Magnoac FC (rugby union, Ligue d'Occitanie, promotion d'honneur championship), Magnoac Tennis club (regional level and tennis school), Aéroclub, Air65 Parachutisme Pyrénées (parachuting and skydiving school), Magnoac lake water sports centre. Sportsman: Antoine Dupont (rugby union, Stade Toulousain and French team, elected best player of the Six Nations Championship in 2020 and best player in the world in 2021)
Festivals: les Dévisseurs de mots, Samba-Répercussion (in Monléon).
Economy: rural community
Labels: Small Cities of Tomorrow network.
Websites: www.castelnau-magnoac.frwww. tourismecoteaux65.frwww.pyrenees-trip.comwww.ccptm.frwww.laregion.fr / http://www.tourisme-occitanie.com/ / www.instagram.com/castelnau_magnoacwww.facebook.com/hautespyreneeswww.instagram.com/hautespyreneeshttps://www.youtube.com/user/Tourisme65https://fr-fr.facebook.com/LaRegionOccitaniePyreneesMediterranee/https://fr-fr.facebook.com/TourismeOccitanie/https://twitter.com/Occitaniehttps://www.instagram.com/laregionoccitanie/?hl=frhttps://www.instagram.com/tourisme_en_occitanie/?hl=fr

© Ville Castelnau-Magnoac
© Ville Castelnau-Magnoac
© Creative Commons 4.0/Sotos

CASTELNAU-MAGNOAC, A STORY

In the heart of the Four Valleys

The village perched on a castral mound is a legacy of the phenomenon of "incastellamento", i.e. "entrenchment", which disrupted the occupation of the land and social relations from the 12th century onwards in the countryside. This phenomenon saw the regrouping of populations at the foot of the castles to find the protection of the local lord.
The name Castelnau-Magnoac is a remnant of the castle built in the 13th century by the Viscount of Labarthe, but now destroyed. The originality of Magnoac lies in its history: it formed a political unit with three other lands: the Four Valleys grouping Magnoac, Neste, Barousse, and Aure. In the 13th century, the Four Valleys passed to the Counts of Armagnac. It was only under Henry IV that the they were definitively attached to the crown of France. At the time of the revolution, the Four Valleys were united with Bigorre to form the department of Hautes-Pyrénées.
In a contemporary period, the village has been enriched by the creation of a hillside lake and the adjoining water sports centre, highlighting the multiple uses of water.

© Ville Castelnau-Magnoac

CASTELNAU-MAGNOAC AND CYCLING

This small town of 800 inhabitants is better known in rugby circles than in cycling circles, as it is the birthplace of the little prodigy of the French national team and the Stade Toulousain, Antoine Dupont, whose family ran a well-known hotel in Castelnau. Although the Tour de France has never stopped here, it has nevertheless passed through its streets six times between 1954 and 2016. In 2005, Jean-Marie Leblanc and Bernard Hinault even stopped by for a visit to the museum of the Pommiès Corps Franc, a network of resistance fighters to which belonged cycle dealer José Alvarez, one of the great personalities of cycling in the South-West and at national level, and a friend of the greatest champions.
Castelnau-Magnoac, 36 km from Tarbes, the pivotal town of the Tour in the Pyrenees, was also inspired by its neighbour (15 km away), Trie-sur-Baïse, with a population of 1,000, which in 2018 organised the start of a stage to Pau, where Arnaud Démare won a bunch sprint finish. Trie-sur-Baïse is the village of the Sanders brothers, Gilles and Dominique, who both took part in the Tour de France.

Antoine Dupont © Pressesports/Fred Lancelot

SIGHTS

Memorial and Museum of the Pommiès Corps Franc
The memorial is dedicated to the Pommiès Corps Franc, a prestigious formation founded on November 17, 1942, by André Pommiès (1904-1972) during the Second World War. It operated clandestinely after being sponsored by the Army Resistance Organisation. In 1944, the corps had a strength of nearly 9,000 men spread throughout southwestern France. This resistance unit, notably through the sabotage of the Hispano-Suiza (Alstom) factory, spared the population the cruel consequences of an air bombardment. This network of resistance fighters made the Magnoac region a hard core of the French resistance. The national monument erected in 1954 on the heights of the village pays tribute to them.

Lake Castelnau-Magnoac
The work to build this lake lasted from the summer of 2005 to the spring of 2007. The 75-hectare reservoir dam fed by the Gèze, with a capacity of 5 million m³, relieves the hydraulic management of all the upstream basins of the Neste system.
The lake has been developed with many activities: beach, paddle, kayak, pedal boat, fitness trail, horse riding, hiking/ mountain biking, petanque field, fishing, playground, etc.

Collegiate Church of the Assumption
Foundation: 15th century
Style: Gothic
Characteristics: the Gothic building has a nave with redone vaults, a flat chevet and four square chapels flanking the nave. The monumental barlong bell tower is a real fortress with harquebus holes and loopholes.
Special features: inside the bell tower, a museum of religious art presents a collection of objects and paintings, some of which are listed as historical monuments, including a 15th century gilded wooden statue of the Virgin and Child breastfeeding and a 16th century gilded wooden statue of Saint Sebastian.
Listing: Historical monument since 1977

Shrine of Our Lady of Garaison
This Marian shrine and Catholic school located in Monléon-Magnoac, 10 km from Castelnau-Magnoac, is also a notable place of pilgrimage. Garaison is the name in the local language (Gascon) of the French translation of healing, due to the reputation of the pilgrimage, as so many sick people flock and so many graces are obtained that the Virgin receives the title of "healing" in the local language: "Notre-Dame de Garaison". The present chapel, built in 1540, has been listed as a historical monument. The sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-Garaison was the best known, the most radiant and the most frequented in the south of France until the first apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette. In 1515, the Virgin Mary appeared three times to young shepherdess Anglèze de Sagazan.

Lake Puydarrieux
This nature reserve, listed as Natura 2000, is located in the communes of Puydarrieux and Campuzan, 7 km from Castelnau-Magnoac. This major ornithological site for birdwatching is home to nearly 200 species and welcomes every year between 2,000 and 3,000 grey cranes from Scandinavia who come here to find food and peace and quiet for the winter. Naturalist guides also offer birdwatching trips from the Maison de la Nature-La Ferranderie, located on the slopes overlooking the lake.

Castelnau-Magnoac aerodrome
Aerodrome under DGAC control, located less than an hour from Toulouse, 45 minutes from Tarbes and 35 minutes from Auch. The site is managed by the aeroclub, whose vocation is to promote air sports (planes, ULM, scale models) and to develop related training and leisure activities (MS 880 flying school, BIA courses, aerial walks, initiation flights). The site also hosts Air65, a skydiving school ready to pass on all its expertise to discover the majestic landscapes of Hautes-Pyrénées or to accompany people wishing to improve their skills in complete safety.

© Ville Castelnau-Magnoac
© Ville Castelnau-Magnoac
© Creative Commons 1.0/Patrice Bon
common crane, grus grus, searching for food in dry grass in autumn nature. Long-leged feathered animal walking on field in fall. Grey bird marching on meadow. © Getty/JMrocek

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