At the crossroads
Since the 9th century, thousands of pilgrims coming from all over Europe travel to Saint-Jacques de Comspostela where the alleged tomb of the Apostle Saint James (Santiago) the Greater was discovered.
Located at a strategic crossroads before the long crossing over the Pyrenees that lead to Spain, Gascony is the place where the four routes on this historic path converge: the Puy route or via Podensis, the route of Arles, the path of Vézelay and the way of Paris.
If Whisky and Cognac owe their fame and their circulation to the sailors that transported them across the seas to the four corners of the world, Armagnac achieved fame thanks to the Saint James pilgrims. Throughout their long pilgrimage, the pilgrims tasted this exceptional eau-de-vie along the way. According to legend, Guillaume Magnier, a peasant from Picardie who was so exhausted and incapable of going any further was advised to use an ointment made with Armagnac, olive oil and candle tallow to soothe his crippled feet. Considering Armagnac as a veritable remedy, the pilgrims became fervent ambassadors, boasting the virtues of this delicious nectar throughout their journey and taking several bottles of it back to their regions and countries.
Aside from the benefits of this welcome drink, the long journey for the pilgrims – more than 1400 kilometres for those that took the Puy route or via Podensis – is brightened up by numerous beautiful historic monuments revealing the soul of Gascony to the travellers: Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Auch, St Peter’s Collegiate Church in La Romieu and the Lartigue bridge between Lectoure and Condom are all classified Unesco World Heritage sites.
Between the vines and the historical remains, the Saint-Jacques de Compostela is an authentic and original way to explore the treasures of Gascony.