Known as the Little Carcassonne of Gers, the village of Larressingle, listed as one of the most beautiful in the country, is the smallest fortified village in France!
Nestling amid the vines, at the heart of the famous Armagnac region, this former residence of the Bishops of Condom, of which a 13th-century castle keep still remains, is a remarkable example of medieval architecture. Surrounded by ramparts and trenches, many reminders of the past are tucked away in this adorable village.
Once visitors cross its little stone bridge and step through its fortified door, they are enchanted to discover a magnificently restored group of buildings. A series of crenellated towers and beautiful houses with elaborate façades, mullion windows and arched doors will delight lovers of old buildings. Next to the castle keep, the fortified Romanesque church with two naves contains some attractive contemporary stained glass windows.
The Pilgrim's Stop museum is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience everyday life in the Middle Ages. The place tells the story of the village during the Hundred Years' War through characters in period costume.
At the approach to the fortified town, don't miss the medieval siege camp and its war machines. From March to November it offers archery demonstrations as well as activities for children and adults!
The village of Larressingle, classified among the most beautiful villages in France, is located west of Condom on the line of plateaux that separates the valleys of the Osse and the Baïse.
According to legend, this fortified village of the thirteenth century derives its name from the Gallo-Roman period where, having resisted a seat of the Roman army of Crassus, lieutenant of Caesar. The latter would have shouted to his soldiers "Retro Singuli": back one by one. But another etymology would draw its roots from the Latin "Cingulum", the enclosure of feudal dungeon and the syllable "re", rehabilitation, reconstruction to become today Larressingle.
Larressingle goes into history at the beginning of the eleventh century. Abbot Hugues, founder of the abbey of Condom, is the heir of the Dukes of Gascony. Having become bishop of Agen and Bazas, he leaves his abbey office of Condom and donates to his successor his lands of Larressingle. Thus the abbots and then the bishops of Condom became the Lords of the place.
In the twelfth century, the church was replaced by a defensive church. In the 13th century, the crowns of France and England competed for Aquitaine. We see then in the region, the boroughs fortify (Sauvetés, Bastides). It is the abbots of Condom who have this fortress realized. The village was never attacked until 1589 when the Huguenots led by Montespan seized it to use it as a base to carry out their raids and misdeeds until 1596.
As early as the seventeenth century, the castle was abandoned by the bishops in favor of the more modern Cassaigne. And it was at the end of the 18th century that Bishop d'Anteroches, the last bishop of Condom, had the roof removed and the lumber was transported to Cassaigne. Sold as a national good, it is cut up and emptied. It is then that the village itself falls into oblivion. Small and inconvenient, one lives more easily outside.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the fortress is doomed to disappear, only 3 houses are inhabited, the others transformed into barns or abandoned lose roofs and stones.
The village owes its restoration to the initiative of the Duke of Treviso who founds a committee of safeguard with financiers in Boston who will feed the caisses until 1938.
To know more about the Romanesque church dedicated to St Sigismond, King Burgondes, built in two stages (classified to the Historic Monuments), the ramparts (classified in the supplementary inventory of the Historic Monuments) and the castle (classified to the Historic Monuments) Whose façade allows us to guess the evolution of the art of building over the centuries, we invite you to get closer to the Tourist Office of Ténarèze to follow a visit accompanied by this magnificent little village.
The bridge of Artigue, quoted in the text on Beaumont, allows to cross the river Osse between the commune of Larressingle and that of Beaumont.