It had been a week since I booked for the lunch cruise, aboard the boat "Le d'Artagnan Échappées Gasconnes".
Departure from the port of Condom
In 40 minutes from Auch, I have arrived safely (from Condom, starting point of the gourmet walk) around 11:20 am, in advance.
The departure is announced at noon, I take this opportunity to sit on a bench on the quay after the wee break just next to the pier.
I like to watch inside the boat, behind the large bay windows, getting ready and the tables to be drawn up, letting me distracted by an equally busy lady, a few meters away, giving the latest safety information to the mother and her 3 children about to leave on the river with a boat without a license : wow I wonder if it's the adventure of going through the locks alone… that intrigues me and makes me want at the same time… I'm going to offer it to my friends for the end of August!
That's it, I am welcomed, I am asked to disinfect my hands and I am invited to take a seat at a small table: "we" is Helen.
Curious one day, always curious, I exchange a few words with the pilot. Hugo tells me that he is in an apprenticeship period to obtain the boat license. He is in BTS Tourism and it's his summer job. He can count on the experience and professionalism of his boss Rémy, the master on board and on land of this small business that he took over barely 2 years ago.
About ten minutes later, a couple arrive and sit on the table right in front of me ...
While waiting for the pilot to start, we exchange a few words with Véronique and Michel the couple next door »we have recently been living in Lectoure,
this walk is a gift we were given for our 50th wedding anniversary ...
Hélène, who until then had been busy serving aperitifs for all the day's participants at this lunch on the water, went out to lend a hand to the pilot, in sailor, she is casting off !
The walk promises to be calm and peaceful ...
Fire for the lunch cruise
The boat makes a big maneuver for a halt in order to recover a small group which eats on board. They are 25. With 3 of us already installed, Hélène, Hugo and Rémy, there are 31 of us and not cramped.
We navigate on the ancestral routes of Armagnac.
The thundering and firm voice of Rémy reason to wish the Welcome, dictate the navigation and health safety rules (circulation of COVID19 requires): the departure is officially launched!
White chef's apron, Rémy presents us with the aperitif served, a white sangria with flavors of peaches, citrus and yellow fruits designed by Aurian the liquor maker in century-old cellars a few steps from the port.
I like the fresh Sangria on this summer day ...
Without delay, I see that everyone starts their starter already served by Hélène ...
Throughout the walk, peaceful over a very wild and natural part of the Baïse, Hélène tells us about some of the heritage that marks out our journey… Thus we learn what has become over the years the former Carmelite Convent since 1935 municipal theater of Condom so dear to his godmother Macha MERIL.
Un Kingfisher well accustomed to this kind of environment, goes back and forth between two old and imposing mills: the Moulin de Teste which played an important role during the Second World War and the Moulin de Gauge (pssit you know the leisure center of Gauge ?)
Between two strokes of the fork, chatting at the table, we take pictures of Mother Nature, we take advantage of the sweetness of the moment ...
Hélène has already cleared, I guess the plates are put away in the kitchen, and hop she goes on and we see it for more than a certain period of time ... It's not the dive that occupies her, Rémy sticks to it, but the passage ofGauge lock… After having said a few words to us this one, she will explain the operation to us in more detail on her return.
How sweet life is on board, time stands still as we pass the lock.
Hop, the lock passed, the entrance to lunch is far away and now Hélène serves us the dish. Putting on her headset, she even mentions an emeritus chef from Gers: André DAGUIN! Why is that ? A connection with one of its faunistic species which damage the very natural banks of the river.
Poplars, walnut trees, ash trees, elm, field maples and other trees, give to our walk a decor imbued with tranquility... We learn that the black-trunked black alder (and inspiring for these creatures called "witches") has a very developed root system: it is therefore a precious ally for maintaining the banks.
About the Baïse
La river is sailed and navigable since the Middle Ages, as best they could. It's with Henri IV that the sailing conditions improve.
The Baïse river takes its source on the Lannemezan plateau, in Capvern to be precise, after 188km it flows into the Lot-et-Garonne very close to Buzet.
And why do we hear two pronunciation "Ba-ise" and "Bé-ise"? Hélène tells you that too.
Atmosphere on board
Between a rosé wine and dessert… We talk. In the kitchen, Rémy has almost finished his task!
RémyI have traveled a lot and I love it, so here on board it's a new way of traveling on a daily basis.
This former traveler is an all-rounder! Today he does not pilot, he gives some tips, discreetly, to his student Hugo, who is already very comfortable. So he gladly takes the microphone for a few anecdotes too. He will tell you why the place is called our U-turn point " the turn of the suicide bombers »As for Hugo, he managed the maneuver with calm, application and we were now turning back.
What astonishment to see the old municipal swimming pool of Condom!
Hélène, after serving dessert winks at fishing enthusiasts on board today with a list of fish that they could catch here… Roach, carp, tench, pike and other crayfish from Louisiana.
Delicacies and escape
I enjoy my whipped cream and I risk refusing the lick of orange liqueur / Armagnac What does Rémy offer me, who is now moving to the service!
Le coffee pusher local, theArmagnac Aurian of course, is served on demand ...
We see the church of Saint-Michel, then the square tower of the condom cathedral that I can't wait to discover this afternoon.
I disregard the discussions of the hosts on board and I look forward to the time when the baths showers from Condom ...
... despite the bad weather, the current facade brings me so much to daydreaming, over the water ...
When I come back to the surface, Hélène is already in the process of taking on the sailor's cap, Hugo concentrated and Rémy whispers some advice that only I can hear. We arrive, my lunch break went while visiting unless it's the other way around.
What a pleasant time ! My neighbors seem delighted too.
It is 14pm, I say "see you soon" to the crew who are already busy rearranging the barge in "discovery cruise" mode for a departure at 15pm and slip away to get all the information for renting a boat without allowed.
Schedule and day
Lunch cruise offered Sunday at 12 p.m. (compulsory presence at 11:40 a.m.) for the duration of the authorized navigation period, i.e. from April to October, on public holidays in the summer (and for groups on all other slots on request).
- 44 € / adult (39 € in group)
- 30 € / child (29 € in group)
- Aperitif from the house Aurian
- Market salad
- Southwestern poultry cooked with duck fat and Gers vegetables
- Spring water and Côtes du Condomois red and rosé at discretion
- Coffee and Armagnac Aurian
Good to know
- WC on board
- English welcome
- Capacity on board: 60 guests (70 places for the discovery walk)
- Families, couples or small groups are not mixed at the table in compliance with health rules due to the circulation of COVID-19
- Sheltered boat
Other activities on site
- Ckingship discovery of the Baïse
- Aperitif cruise on the Baïse
- Location of boat without license and pedal boat
- Location of bike
- Gourmet shop
- Tea Room
- +06 (81) 68 34 25 05 62 / +28 (46) 46 XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX
- Port de Condom harbor master's office - 3, avenue d'Aquitaine - 32 100 CONDOM
- Parking: access to Pont des Carmes
- On the GPS: gascogne navigation