Gascony is a hidden—though spectacular—culinary corner in southwestern France, where peasant farmers have perfected the art of foie gras and duck confit over the centuries. Often bypassed for more celebrated (and touristed) regions such as Provence, Gascony can be authentically and simply experienced in historic inns like the 18-room Château de Lassalle (pictured), a renovated eighteenth-century country house near Agen (33-5-53-95-10-58; doubles from $130).
How to Get There
Fly into Toulouse and drive 90 minutes north to Agen (halfway between Toulouse and Bordeaux, near the Garonne River). Along the way, you'll pass vast fields of sunflowers and golden hay. Nineteen night markets pop up throughout the region in summer, making it an ideal time for foodies to visit.
This idyllic scene is in the grassy, wildflower-dotted courtyard of the château, where guests feast alfresco on duck terrine and farmers' market–fresh vegetables before taking an afternoon dip in the swimming pool (located just around the corner). For dinner, it's a short stroll from your room to the hotel's restaurant, which is in a separate stone building on the grounds. The menu changes with the season, and the wines of Gascony are a specialty.
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