154 km in 6 stages: how the Grand Tour de l’Astarac wants to attract cycle tourists in the Gers

154 km in 6 stages: how the Grand Tour de l’Astarac wants to attract cycle tourists in the Gers
154 km in 6 stages: how the Grand Tour de l’Astarac wants to attract cycle tourists in the Gers

the essential
From May 15 to 21, in Auch, Durban, Masseube, Saint-Michel, Pouylebon, and Ordan-Larroque, the 1st itinerant cycling circuit in Gers is promoting itself. A new way to discover the department.

Gers has no shortage of cycling routes. From a simple village tour to 100 km loops, enthusiasts will find something to satisfy their desire for discovery. But nothing for those who want to proceed in stages. This is the objective of the Grand Tour de l’Astarac by bike, inaugurated from May 15 to 21 in six emblematic places: Auch, Durban, Masseube, Saint-Michel, Pouylebon and Ordan-Larroque. This 154 km loop, to be completed in 2 or 5 days, offers cycle tourists a new way of understanding the diversity of the landscapes of the

Gers and the rich heritage of the Pays d’Auch and Astarac. “Suitable for families as well as experienced cyclists, the Grand Tour de l’Astarac allows you to discover over 2 to 5 days this still little-known territory with its remarkable natural and historical heritage, candidate for the Regional Natural Park brand,” specifies the explanatory sheet.

“The issue of homelessness had not been considered”

The Territorial and Rural Balance Pole (PETR) of the Pays d’Auch initiated a reflection in 2020 with its partners on soft roaming offers in its territory. Covid put the project on hold, but in 2023, the idea resurfaces, with a new orientation, intended to capture a very particular visitor: the cycle tourist. “A cycle tourist will easily find a circuit that will keep him busy one day,” explains François Bedoussac, in charge of the project at the PETR in Auch. But the question of homelessness, with journeys in stages over several days, had not been considered. »

The GTA will pass through Auch on May 15.
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However, this is a growing demand from cycle tourists for ready-made routes, accessible from the station. Nearly 30% of cycle tourists are looking for this offer, booming since the end of Covid. A cycle tourist spends a quarter more than a traditional tourist. And with 22 million French people who cycle during their holidays, and 20% of enthusiasts who come from abroad, it would be a shame to let this tourist windfall slip away…

“We had to create consistency between the portions”

Now operational, the 154 km circuit, called Grand Tour de l’Astarac, or GTA, can be completed in 2 to 5 days. “It’s a journey that could really please a Toulouse public” analyzes the project manager. Crossing the three communities of municipalities of the future natural park, it is fully signposted and is accessible from Auch station. This route is aimed at all types of cyclists, whether they are fans of classic or electric bikes. “There was a lot of work carried out with the tourist offices,” assures François Bedoussac. Besides Auch, there are two stopover towns, Mirande and Masseube, where cyclists can find services and accommodation. For the circuit, the layout is partly based on the existing one, but it was necessary to create coherence between the portions. »

The Astarac Grand Tour is already open. It remained to officially inaugurate it. To do this, the Pays d’Auch is organizing, from May 15 to 21, a tour of 6 open-air movie evenings in 6 towns and villages on the circuit, with a special day in Auch. Every evening, documentaries, testimonies and meetings to learn and discuss the issues of transition in a friendly setting, before the screening of a film… with the strength of the calf!

GTA meetings

The Grand Tour de l’Astarac by bike route offers a 154 km long loop, to be completed in 2 or 5 days. Here are the stages of the route: Auch, May 15; Durban, May 16; Masseube, May 17; Saint-Michel, May 18; Pouylebon, May 20; Ordan-Larroque, May 21. Note that the Pays d’Auch is organizing a day dedicated to soft and shared mobility on May 15. The event will take place on Place Barbès in Auch (from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.), which will become the Place aux Mobilités Durables for one day. On the menu: children’s trail, entertainment, catering and cinema cycle.

More information on the pays-auch.fr website.

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