The town is divided into an upper and a lower quarter, connected by several flights of steps. In the old part of town in the upper quarter, the narrow streets, called pousterles, center on place Salinis, where you can get a good view of the Pyrenees. Branching off from here, the Escalier Monumental leads down to the Le Gers River and the lower quarter of town, a descent of 232 steps.
North of the square is the Cathédrale Ste-Marie, place de la Cathédrale (tel. 05-62-63-28-50). Built from the 15th to the 17th centuries, this is one of the handsomest Gothic churches in the south of France. It has 113 Renaissance choir stalls made of carved oak. The impressive stained-glass windows crafted by Arnaud de Moles in the 16th century are also from the Renaissance. Charging no admission, the cathedral is open April to September daily 8:30am to noon and 2 to 6pm; October to March daily 9:30am to noon and 2 to 5pm.
Next to the cathedral stands an 18th-century archbishop's palace with a 14th-century bell tower, the Tour d'Armagnac, which was once a prison. Both are closed to the public.
For shops and boutiques, walk down rue Dessoles, rue de Pouille, and avenue de l'Alsace, for everything from confectionery shops to clothing stores. For a town of its relatively small size, Auch produces more wines, fine Armagnacs, foie gras, cheese, cured ham, and a greater number of regional delicacies than a casual visitor might have expected. They'll virtually leap out of store windows as you promenade down the commercial streets of downtown (the rue Dessoles is reserved only for pedestrian traffic, and is especially dense with food outlets). Two of the busiest and most respected outlets for regional foodstuffs, liqueurs (especially Armagnacs), and wines are La Cave Gourmande, 15 rue Dessoles (tel. 05-62-61-81-33; www.lacavegourmande.com); and La Cave d'Artagnan, 3 rue de la République (tel. 05-62-60-23-80).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.