In 2017, I achieved my goal of visiting all of the most beautiful villages in France. However, in the following six years, over 10 new villages were added to that list. Inspired by this, I decided to take on the challenge again this summer vacation and headed to France to visit all the villages once more.
The first village I chose to visit was “La Romieu”.
I began my journey from Charles de Gaulle Airport. From there, I rented a car and traveled over three days to the heart of the Occitanie region, specifically to the Gers area. This region is dotted with many picturesque villages worth seeing, and I have visited them several times in the past. It’s such a captivating place, where every visit brings new discoveries.
For the first two days after arriving in France, I spent my time in the northern parts where the temperature didn’t exceed 30 degrees Celsius. However, as Gers is located in the south, it was the first time during this trip that I felt temperatures above 30 degrees. The south is indeed warmer.
Upon arriving at the parking lot, I was fortunate to find a good spot right at the entrance. Although there seemed to be other parking spaces, the popularity and recognition of these beautiful villages have increased since my first visit in 2010. Perhaps because I visited during the vacation season, even though I arrived around 11 a.m., the area was already bustling with many tourists. As a result, it might have been a bit challenging to find parking. Luckily, I managed to park quickly.
The village had a proper tourist information center, from which I could gain entrance to the village’s landmark, the “Collegiate Church of Saint Peter”. There was an entrance fee.
For detailed information about the village, please refer to the following description.
“La Romieu” is a charming village located in the Gers department in the Occitanie region of southwestern France. The village is best known for its historical significance and its UNESCO World Heritage sites, particularly the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter and its cloister.
Here are some key points about La Romieu:
1. **Collegiate Church of Saint Peter**: This church, along with its cloister, is the main attraction in La Romieu. It was founded in the 14th century and reflects the Gothic architectural style. The cloister, with its intricate arches and serene ambiance, is a delightful place to explore.
2. **Legend of Angeline**: La Romieu is also famous for a local legend concerning a young girl named Angeline. According to the story, during a period of famine in the 14th century, Angeline planted and cared for cats, which later helped control a rat infestation that was destroying crops. Today, visitors can see statues of cats scattered around the village in memory of this tale.
3. **Tower of Armagnac**: This tower offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Gascony countryside, giving visitors a perspective on the area’s beautiful landscapes.
4. **Location**: Being in the heart of the Gers department, La Romieu is situated amidst the scenic landscapes of Gascony, known for its rolling hills, sunflower fields, and picturesque rural charm.
5. **Cultural Events**: Like many French villages, La Romieu hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating local culture, food, and traditions.
6. **Gastronomy**: Being in the Gers, La Romieu is a great place to sample local Gascon and Occitan specialties. The region is particularly known for its foie gras, Armagnac brandy, and a variety of delicious local dishes.
7. **UNESCO Recognition**: In 1998, the Collegiate Church and its cloister were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France, acknowledging their importance as a stop for pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Visiting La Romieu offers a unique blend of historical exploration, cultural immersion, and the tranquility of the French countryside. It’s a must-visit for those exploring the Gers department and the broader Occitanie region.