Saint-Clar is a commune in the Gers, Occitanie region, 15 km south-east of Lectoure.
The territory of the locality belongs to the natural region of Lomagne, between hillsides of Gascony and valley of the Garonne.
Crossed by the courses of Arrats and Auroue, discreetly hilly, the town is made up of a village that overlooks agricultural areas that prove to be one of the main centers of production of white garlic, a specialty since the 13th century, and now enjoys a protected geographical indication.
Already occupied during Antiquity, Saint-Clar was developed at the beginning of the second millennium between two castles now extinct, one belonging to the Bishop of Lectoure, the other to the Viscount of Lomagne. Next to this primitive nucleus, called Château-Vieux, a bastide (new town with checkerboard plan) is then founded in 1274 by the Bishop of Lectoure and the Duke of Aquitaine. Then the village has further developed towards the southeast, around the path leading to Fleurance.
The small town of about 1000 inhabitants has preserved from this ancient history a picturesque charm and a heritage of character (alleys lined with covered, arcaded squares, houses of style). If we add that the town offers visitors a range of cultural and sports activities of the first order, we understand that a stage or even a stay there are very pleasant...
A walk in the bastide and its adjoining neighborhoods allows you to appreciate a quality built heritage and a reduced but charming and picturesque urban heart.
This is the case of its 17th century hall, in the center of the Garlande square, which succeeded a first building dedicated to trade dating from the Middle Ages. The hall was remodeled in the nineteenth century during the construction of the Town Hall in 1818, with a wooden frame and original pillars. A campanile was added in 1828.
The many covered (or arcades) around the two main squares and also visible in some sections of streets were for their part restored in the nineteenth century and obviously contribute to the charm of the locality.
A detour is then required by the old church Sainte-Catherine, in the old quarter. Its bell tower dates from the eleventh century, and the nave of the thirteenth. On the "south" wall, there are funerary niches on the street side and fragments of a fresco on the inside. St. Catherine's Church is now dedicated to culture (exhibitions) after being decommissioned in 1862 when a new church was erected. Just opposite, we linger willingly in the garden of the four seasons, arranged in place of collapsed houses, and which has in its center a bust of Jean Géraud Dastros (1594-1648), Occitan poet and former canon of the parish.
The walk continues through the former bishop's palace, a medieval building converted into a presbytery and restored to house the media library. The exterior wall was built following the layout of a 14th century rampart. The walled garden, adorned with statues, has been preserved. As for the media library, it has a space dedicated to digital, an exhibition room and another dedicated to hosting writing workshops, meetings with authors or readings for children. Information on +33 5 62 07 49 12.
In this circuit, we will not forget the Church of St. Clair, built in the nineteenth century in a neo-Gothic style and which has a small organ recently restored and the Republic Square with its cutlery of the fourteenth century, which was closed by a fortified gate until the nineteenth.
The old walkway (dotted with views of the countryside), the wash-fountain where cattle came to drink until the 1900s and the many crosses established on the territory at the crossroads complete this panorama of the heritage.
Animated tours of the bastide are available all year long and every Monday in summer, at 11am, is scheduled a gourmet visit. Information on +33 5 62 66 34 45.
Before enjoying the leisure and activities "nature" of the town, a visit to the public school museum is a must. In the center of the village, it was built in the building that housed the first school. It reveals the material, the furniture and the educational techniques of yesteryear via a modern course and museography (sound accompaniments, portrait galleries, vintage photos). Open all year from Tuesday to Saturday. Price: 2,50 and 4 euros. Information on +33 5 62 66 32 78.
In addition to a skate park accessible to young visitors and tennis courts that can be booked with the local club (contact +33 6 32 67 60 67), then go to the leisure center of Escalaves, 2 km from the center. It includes a natural lake of 5 hectares and a dozen hectares of lawns and wooded areas particularly pleasant in summer.
A beach is laid out for relaxation and swimming is supervised in July and August. Water slides are available, as well as a fitness trail, children's games and picnic areas. Entry in July and August: 3.50 euros. Free from September to June but no swimming.
In summer always, a company offers the rental of canoes, paddles and the practice of sliding sports (jet ski, towed buoys). Information on +33 5 62 66 40 45.
In terms of hiking, pedestrian routes of 5 to 8 km have been marked on the territory of the town, and circuits reserved for mountain bikers and cyclists around 30 km are proposed. Some loops include the amazing 23-hectare photovoltaic park built in 2010 on the locality. Maps and information on +33 5 62 66 34 45 or +33 5 62 05 95 95.
In February, trail of 3 suns (running in the wild).
The first Sunday of May, garage sale and Floralies.
The first weekend of June, communal festival with fun, gourmet and musical entertainment.
End of June, the fire of St. John.
In mid-July, theater festival.
The first Thursday of August, Estiv'Ail, with the program "meal of farmers", accompanied by a musical entertainment, served in the hall.
The 3rd Thursday of August, competition of garlic, with gourmet and musical animations.
In July and August, concerts and exhibitions at the old church.
Finally, every Thursday, all year, the market is the ideal opportunity to apprehend the richness of the terroir of the region (garlic, fruits and vegetables, fat poultry...).