Gascony (Gascogne in french) is an area of
southwest France that constituted a province of France prior to the
French Revolution. It is currently divided between the Aquitaine
région (départements of Landes,
Pyrénées-Atlantiques, south of Gironde, and south of
Lot-et-Garonne) and the Midi-Pyrénées région
(départements of Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées, southwest
of Tarn-et-Garonne, and west of Haute-Garonne).
Gascony was historically inhabited by Basque related people. It is home
to the Gascon language. It is also the land of d'Artagnan, who inspired
Alexandre Dumas's character in the Three Musketeers.
Gascony is also famed for its douceur de vivre ("sweetness of life"):
its food (Gascony is home to foie gras and Armagnac brandy), its
medieval towns and villages locally called bastides nested amidst green
rolling hills, its sunny weather, the beauty of its landscape, with the
occasional distant views of the Pyrenees mountain range, all contribute
to the popularity of Gascony as a tourist destination. Due to rural
exodus, Gascony is one of the least populated areas of western Europe,
and so it has recently become a haven for stressed urbanites of
northern Europe (France, England, Benelux) in search of quiet and peace
of mind, who are increasingly buying second homes in Gascony.