Let’s escape to Gers, through the Domaine d’Escapa!7 min read
At the heart of the natural lands of Gers, at the crossroads of several regions of the South West of France, so appreciated for its gastronomy, nestles a haven of peace. The Domaine d’Escapa is strategically located in a valley bordered with meadows that extend as far as the eye can see and where graze a flock of 50 Arabian horses, destined for the race. This equestrian community is the connection point between the wilderness and this glamping resort location, in its full splendor. By Alex Plato
One of the great surprises that you would find on the booking website, Pitchup.com, created by the British entrepreneur Dan Yates, also on interview here. Specialized on camping and especially glamping (through a mix between camping and glamour), you would find for sure your next holiday destination throughout the World, thanks to the multiple available filters. Indeed, here in the Domaine d’Escapa, at first glance, vacationers plebiscite this place for the permanent calm around your holiday home… We would have eventually evaluated an average threshold of 25dB, indicating a sustainable tranquility (photo credits: Alex Plato).
This relaxing setting would be then ideal for resting and disconnecting from your daily worries. In addition, this tranquility heaven would be possible and ensured by the reduction (to the maximum) of the car traffic in the enclosure of the camp-site, since no cars or motorbikes are allowed by the pitch. All cars must be parked in the designated area. This out-of-time experience would be extended through the type of on-site accommodation, consisting of a natural habitat. This natural philosophy is the motto of Virginie, the founder of this natural adventure, back to the roots! Without a doubt, even if you’re an urban by nature, you would get easily addicted to this glamping concept.
Indeed, while you relax in the Domaine d’Escapa, you wouldn’t obviously find any concrete construction, among the 20 wooden caravans, made in La Charité sur Loire or the 5 teepees also from Burgundy.
The same goes for the other structures, like the Carrés d’Étoiles, these wooden cubes, surmounted by a zenith rooftop, allowing you to admire the sky at night and maybe even its shooting stars.
These wooden caravans (also called roulottes) represent a real way of life, since you may live as a gypsy family with your kids but in a comfort zone. On the spot, the bathroom and the kitchen, full in wood, would satisfy your journey with a whole panorama on this wonderful lake, where you could spend a lovely candle diner and maybe thereafter having a midnight bath.
In order to complete this picture, on the hillside stand 3 cabins, still with a raw wooden composition, able to accommodate a group up to 6 people. Their ingenious configuration offers an independent master bedroom, two bunk beds, made intimate thanks to a curtain and finally a small mezzanine accessible with a ladder.
A welcome that does not neglect a certain splendor since you would find, still on the wooden terrace, a private Jacuzzi that will brighten up your summer nights. These huts, on stilts, are the result of the precise work of the famous Compagnons du Devoir from Bordeaux, already manufacturers of many other achievements based on stilts and tiled. You would eventually admire the detail of their finishes, even no nail is visible in their enclosure!
The whole package of those accommodations are accessible thanks to a path, all in relief, since the pond, which is, more or less, the nerve center of this Domaine d’Escapa. Those dwellings enjoy an incomparable panorama on this side and the surrounding valleys, which would extend as far as the eye can see.
Indeed, many activities are proposed around this artificial lake, that nevertheless sounds so natural! This water point offers a large enough surface to allow you to swim laps or to practice water activities, like water-polo, canoe, trampoline and even water-climbing! All in a clean and preserved water, with the help of regular controls of the public authorities. Moreover, the temperature of this bathing water remains pleasant since it maintains a mild temperature, around 28 degrees in summer and 25 degrees in late October.
If you prefer the chlorinated water, the clear outdoor swimming pool is dedicated to you. You’ll know that it’s open between 30/04 and 01/10 (subject to weather conditions).
It has a wooden floor, ideal for the comfort of feet and of course, a component in communion with nature.
Further downstream is the reception and its tavern with veiling, which offers a family atmosphere around boards of specialties of the region, all accompanied by wines selected by a sommelier.
It may be that your journey matches with one of the evenings, when some random debates or concerts are regularly organized in this open air space. A speed dating will soon be proposed with the help of a tarologue.
Always in the same perspective of offering services closer to visitors, a wellness area is also available nearby with massages, a sauna and possibly numerology consultations by Virginie, in order to predict your present and perhaps your future. In project, other services would be soon proposed around the water, such as care with the use of Bach flowers in organic tents, of course close to the water. A real experience along the water and rural escapades that will not fail to delight your natural sensitivity.
Lieu-dit Clarens 32300 Estipouy
00 33 (0)5 62 59 37 51
From where you are, you couldn’t miss any cultural activities around the Domaine d’Escapa. For example, exploring the Gers countryside and the many waterways and lakes in the zone, stopping off at production sites for local factories including Armagnac, saffron, goats’ cheese and foie gras. Some local markets are located in Mirande, just 15 minutes’ drive away, open until 1pm, in Auch, Vic-Fezensac and also in Marciac, all within 35 minutes.
By the way, if you’re spending some time in the area in summer, the Marciac’s Jazz Festival is a must see, you could also find another Country Music Festival in Mirande.
Auch is the head city of this low density department of the Gers. Renowned for its rich gastronomy, its rugby team, its pousterles (medieval narrow alleys) and its monumental staircase from the top of which is located the statue of d’Artagnan, as well visible in Lupiac (in the photo nearby). This neoclassical structure dominates the Gers river and links the upper town to the lower town, with 35 meters of elevation difference, through 374 steps. In fact, Auch is considered as the historic capital of the province of Gascony. A magnificent Cathedral is waiting for you, Sainte-Marie d’Auch (see the photo upon), was built between the fifteenth and the seventeenth century, is famous for its stained glass made by Arnaud de Moles. The choir contains a set of 113 solid oak stalls representing more than 1,500 characters (photo credits: Gers IG).
If you land at the Lourdes-Tarbes international airport, you will have the choice between cities filled with History and spirituality! (photo credits: Lourdes-Tarbes Airport IG)
The first destination, Lourdes is a famous spiritual Catholic Center, this pilgrimage center since the first apparitions to Sainte Bernadette Soubiroux in 1858, it welcomes each year 6 million pilgrims or visitors from around the world (according to the Diocese), including about 60 000 patients and invalids. It is the fourth place of Catholic pilgrimage in the ranking side, after the Vatican, the Basilica of Notre Dame of Guadalupe in Mexico and the Basilica of Notre Dame of Aparecida in Brazil.
Each year, millions of people visit the Massabielle Cave where, in 1858, the Virgin Mary would have appeared to this young Bernadette. Pilgrims would since this time, eventually drink or bathe in the water flowing from a source in the cave. Surprisingly, according to Atout France, for a town of just 15,000 inhabitants, Lourdes possesses an incredible hotel offer of more than 12,000 rooms and nearly 22,200 beds for 144 hotels. This figure nominates Lourdes as the second largest Hospitality City in France, after Paris, but third in number of hotels after Nice (photo credits: Lourdes Sanctuary IG).
The religious authorities were keen to make a vow to the Virgin, to build a chapel. The Father Peyramale was in charge of the organization of this enterprise, as well as pilgrimages. That is, the administration of the site, acquired four months earlier by the bishop. The abbot has developed the area around the Massabielle Cave, and he could eventually launch the construction of the chapel, which would gain a foothold above the cave. It would then be named the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Lourdes. On August 4, 1864, the first procession traveled from its parish church to the grotto, where the Bishop Laurence blessed the Virgin statue.
For the second city, Tarbes is the chief town of the Hautes-Pyrénées department, located at the foot of the Pyrénées mountains, at 304 meters above sea level. Thus this city is an important tourism crossroads regarding this mountain chain. With a clear weather, the view of the Pyrénées is very clear (several peaks around 3,000 meters are clearly visible), like the famous Pic du Midi (2,876 meters) and its astronomical Observatory. You could also visit around the Pyrénées National Park, the Gavarnie Circus and the Brèche de Roland (Roland’s Breach). There are numerous winter and summer sports resorts, the spas, the caves and chasms of the department, etc.
Tarbes includes many notable spots like the Notre-Dame-de-la-Sède Cathedral, starring a classical facade dating from the seventeenth century, with a ceiling painted by Henri Borde and the Testament of Louis XVI. If you walk further, you would find the Massey Garden classified as a Jardin Remarquable, where is located the Musée Massey, a characteristic construction of Byzantine and Moorish style, muchly inspired by a Cairo palace. This Center also hosts the International Hussars Museum, an exceptional collection of 15,000 items, a rich collection of fine arts.