Gers

Gers (French: [ʒɛʁ(s)]; Occitan: [dʒɛɾs]) is a department in the Occitanie region of Southwestern France.[1] Named after the Gers River, its inhabitants are called the Gersois and Gersoises in French. In 2016, it had a population of 190,664.

Gers
Prefecture building in Auch

Flag

Coat of arms
Location of Gers in France
Coordinates: 43°39′N 0°35′E
CountryFrance
RegionOccitanie
PrefectureAuch
SubprefecturesCondom
Mirande
Government
  President of the Departmental CouncilPhilippe Martin (PS)
Area
  Total6,257 km2 (2,416 sq mi)
Population
 (2016)
  Total190,664
  Rank90th
  Density30/km2 (79/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number32
Arrondissements3
Cantons17
Communes461
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

History

In the Middle Ages, the Lordship of L'Isle-Jourdain was nearby.

Gers is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Guyenne and Gascony. It is surrounded by the departments of Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. In 1808 it lost Lavit on its north-eastern side to the newly created department of Tarn-et-Garonne.

Culture

The culture is largely agricultural, with great emphasis on the local gastronomical specialties such as:

Also, some prominent cultivated crops are corn, colza, sunflowers and grain.

The Gascon language is a dialect of Occitan, but it is not widely spoken. The department is characterised by sleepy bastide villages and rolling hills with the Pyrenees visible to the south. Alexandre Dumas, père created the famous Gersois d'Artagnan, the fourth musketeer of The Three Musketeers. A museum to d'Artagnan is found in the Gersois village of Lupiac.

A horse race at the Auteuil Hippodrome has been named after André Boingnères, a notable local race-horse owner and the successful Mayor of Termes-d'Armagnac between 1951 and 1976.

Politics

Departmental Council of Gers

The President of the Departmental Council of Gers Philippe Martin of the Socialist Party since 2014. The assembly comprises 34 seats, allocated as follow since the 2015 departmental elections:

PartySeats
Socialist Party22
The Republicans12

Members of the National Assembly

Gers elected the following members of the National Assembly during the 2017 legislative election:

ConstituencyMember[2]Party
Gers's 1st constituency Jean-René Cazeneuve La République En Marche!
Gers's 2nd constituency Gisèle Biémouret Socialist Party

Demography

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1801257,609    
1806287,021+2.19%
1821301,336+0.32%
1831312,160+0.35%
1841311,447−0.02%
1851307,479−0.13%
1861298,931−0.28%
1872284,717−0.44%
1881281,532−0.12%
1891261,084−0.75%
1901238,448−0.90%
1911221,994−0.71%
1921194,406−1.32%
1931193,134−0.07%
1936192,451−0.07%
1946190,431−0.11%
1954185,111−0.35%
1962182,264−0.19%
1968181,577−0.06%
1975175,366−0.50%
1982174,154−0.10%
1990174,587+0.03%
1999172,335−0.14%
2006181,375+0.73%
2011188,893+0.82%
2016190,664+0.19%
source:[3]

Located in Southwestern France, Gers is often referred to as amongst the least densely populated, or most rural, areas in all of Western Europe. List of the 10 most important cities of the department:

#MunicipalityPopulation (2016)
1Auch21 911
2L'Isle-Jourdain8 012
3Condom7 003
4Fleurance6 280
5Lectoure3 730
6Eauze3 877
7Mirande3 572
8Vic-Fezensac3 563
9Gimont2 871
10Pavie2 426

Climate

The annual rain varies from more than 900 mm in the south-west of the department, to less than 700 mm in the North-East (Auch, Condom, Lectoure).

The winters vary, with only occasional freezing temperatures, but the climate remains mild and dry. The amount of sunshine is about 1950 hours/years.

The summers are hot and dry. Auch is, together with Toulouse, Nîmes, Carpentras, Ajaccio, Marseille, Toulon and Perpignan, one of the hottest cities in France.

Tourism

According to recent data tourism represents annually:

  • 610 000 tourists,
  • 5.900.000 nights,
  • 22.100 commercial beds,
  • 2 400 paid employment related to tourism,
  • the tourist represent an equivalent of 17.100 permanent inhabitants,
  • their estimated expenditure is 141.000.000 €.

References

See also

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