Route Blog: Stage 4. Dax – Nogaro. 182km
Between December and June, we’re going to blog, one stage at a time, about the 2023 Tour de France route. You’ll find stage descriptions for every stage on our Route page.
This stage takes us inland, into the Gers (a region about the same size as Devon), also known in English as Gascony. This is the area that Armagnac comes from: a ten-grape, white wine brandy, aged in wooden barrels and distilled only once (unlike Cognac which is made from a single grape variety and distilled twice). Foodwise, it’s also famous for poultry (and duck in particular), a special sort of white bean (“tarbais”) and an abundance of fruit in the summer, most notably plums which are dried to become the prunes that are often combined with Armagnac in tarts, ice cream and more.
Despite feeling that you’re deep into rural France here, the area is gaining in popularity, especially since Covid, as a place where it’s possible to live a peaceful, outdoor life with reasonable transport connections (high speed TGV trains can take you to central Paris in under 5hrs) and extra fast broadband (thanks to huge investment in infrastructure).
There are plenty of small, quiet villages to keep the cycling interesting but not enough cars to stop you chatting. Local markets, vineyard views, ruined castles and Romanesque churches are all likely to feature in your photo haul from stage 4. And if you’re looking for more background or further research, we should note that D’Artagnan (from Dumas’ Three Musketeers) was born in this region. It has a lot to offer!
Don’t just watch it; Ride it!