Marciac (32 Gers, Midi-Pyrenees between Auch and Pau) would usually be one of those small southern French towns you’d pass through without too much thought, except in the first 2 weeks of August every year when it goes Jazz Crazy with its Festival of Jazz in Marciac (or JIM as it is known to the fans!) (see map)
A musician friend of mine plans much of his summer around being there every year, as this was a festival started by Wynton Marsalis which has some top name jazz artistes appearing. Are you tempted by “Chano Dominguez’s flamenco piano” or the “Andalusian-Caribbean duende of Tomatito and Michel Camilo”? Then there is Wynton Marsalis and Jamie Cullen to name but a few.
It sems such a contradiction – a very provincial, rather staid french town being invaded by all kinds of “foreign” music from traditions from all over the world – it sounds magical and I keep promising we shall go one year. Plus there are free concerts on the last weekend (Sun 13 – Tue 15 August) – see www.jazzinmarciac.com
Marciac is also in the centre of the Cotes de Gascogne wine region – fresh fruity gluggable dry whites and rosé, and some soft reds with backbone – top producers include the huge Plaimont Co-operative who produce consistently good wines – or for something on a smaller, more individual scale try the excellent wines from the Kitcheners at Domaine de Lauroux