Discover Mont-de-Marsan : A walk in town and some tips !

Mont-de-Marsan
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Discover Mont-de-Mars ...

It was during a superb sunny Saturday afternoon, that I decided to visit Mont-de-Marsan. Famous for its events, the town has many other attractions to offer visitors ! From its lively pedestrian streets to its large natural areas, via tasting specialities of Landes, I’ll share with you my discovery of this must visit town.

Mont-de-Marsan : a lively town with great food  


As soon as I arrived, I headed towards Place Saint-Roch because every Saturday, is market day ! I really like going to markets to see the buzz filling a town or villages squares. It is where the locals and the producers of the region meet and where you find all the best local specialities. Between the beautiful colours of the stalls and the odours of the dishes cooking, my head is spinning. The market of Mont-de-Marsan takes place on all day on a Tuesday and on Saturday morning from 8am to 1pm. It takes place in a large market hall where the fruits and vegetables sellers, purveyors of homemade jams, butchers, bakers gather There are so many sellers that some of them have to set up their stalls on the Place Saint-Roch.

 

Marché de Mont-de-Marsan

The market of Mont-de-Marsan

étals du marché de Mont-de-Marsan

This Espelette pepper cheese looks so delicious...

 

They all seem to offer marvellous products but I present you my two favourite picks of this beautiful market. Number one, the baker who holds his stall on the square. On the top of his beautiful bread, he offers two fabulous Landes specialities : the “Pastis Landais” and the “Pastis Bourrit”. The Pastis Landais is a brioche that melts in the mouth flavoured with rum, orange blossom, and vanilla... a delight ! Le Pastis Bourrit is similar but more compact. "Bourrit" means cake mix in Gascony. Difficult to make a choice between the 2… therefore, I bought them both.
 
Photo de Pastis landais Mont-de-Marsan

The Pastis Landais, a savoury speciality

Tourtes au foie-gras

The beautiful foie gras tourts of the Pâtisserie Pons

 
My second best pick of the market is the discovery of the Chocolaterie-Pâtisserie Pons. Amongst his creations and specialities, we can find the apples and onions confit foie gras tourt. It looks beautiful, smells good and it is local, in brief difficult to resist.

  

After a bit of shopping at the market, it is time for a break in the sun with the locals, on the terraces of the Place Saint-Roch. I settled then at the bar l'Aviator. If you are passing by go to the outdoor room after the bar. The seats are former plane seats ! It is original and rather comfortable.

 

Bar Aviator Mont-de-Marsan

Having a drink on the terrace in Place Saint-Roch

 

It is time to get back to discovering the town. The centre is full of beautiful pedestrian streets, and this makes it very pleasant to do it on foot... If you are in a car, you had better get parked in one of the many car parks near the town centre. Indeed the one-way traffic streets are numerous in the centre and can make the navigation complicated for visitors.

 

Les rues de Mont-de-Marsan

The beautiful pedestrian streets of Mont-de-Marsan

 

The Charles de Gaulle Square, located at the north of the town is also worth visiting. The Tourist Office is beside the bridge with the beautiful statue of the diver. It is a pleasant place where the locals meet up. The surrounding buildings are superb especially the Molière Theatre. The building also homes the Halles de la Madeleine. A landmark for fine gourmets offering dishes for all tastes : greengrocer, dairy, butcher… It is possible to do your shopping or eat on site. Conviviality and great products are here !
 
Les Halles de Mont-de-Marsan

The Halles de la Madeleine, ideal for a little snack !

Théâtre Mont-de-Marsan

The superb Le Molière Theatre

 

For an even more typical atmosphere, I recommend the Auberge du Grand Megnos for its generous dishes, its attentive service and traditional cuisine. It is located 20 minutes by car from the town centre of Mont-de-Marsan, but I can guaranty you, you will love it !

 

Mont-de-Marsan, the green town  

 

Few steps away from the lively squares, we can find some lush green and quiet areas that make us forget that we are in the capital of Les Landes. The town is crossed by two rivers which merge to form one : The Midouze River. These different watercourses give to the town a peaceful and natural aspect. Have a look at the view from the Pont des Droits de l'Homme, it’s worth writing home about ! There is a fantastic viewpoint on the merging of the two rivers and on old buildings.
 
Vue du pont de Mont-de-Marsan

The beautiful view from the Pont des Droits de l’Homme

Vue du pont de Mont-de-Marsan

The beautiful view from the Pont des Droits de l’Homme (on the other side !)

 
I really loved going on the Passerelle des Douves from the roundabout of the donjon. It is so peaceful and green. Also, this walkway leads us to a beautiful park, then towards the ruins of the fortifications and the former washhouse. A guaranteed voyage back in time !

 

In the north of the town is another paradise for the nature enthusiasts : the large Jean Rameau park that bears the name of the Landais poet and novelist. Not surprising for such a beauty place. With its 6 hectares, the locals go there for walking, relaxing and exercising... Superbly maintained, the beautiful trees invite us to take a break in their shade. During my walk, I fell under the spell of this magnolia !


Parc et jardin mont-de-marsan

The Jean Rameau Park, a dream place for a green break

 

Mont-de-Marsan, a cultural town  

 

While wandering around in this lovely town, I discovered by accident some superb buildings including roman style houses ! Dating back from the 12th century. Whether or not you are a history lover, it is impossible not to appreciate these structures which spanned the ages.


Donjon à Mont-de-marsan

Donjon ahead !

Maisons Romanes Mont-de-Marsan

One of the superb Roman style houses of Mont-de-Marsan



From the tribunal de Grande Instance, take the Rue Maubec and follow it until Rue Victor Hugo then cross the road and take the Rue Pujolin. You can admire a superb Roman style house and the beautiful building in front combining perfectly the old and the modern style. Carry on straight on the Rue Lacataye up to the Passerelle des Musées. At the end, turn left to go on the other pavement. Following the “21 Août 1944” walk and then the Rue des Remparts, you will have a breathtaking view on the period buildings. Finish your circuit beautifully by going through the Ruelle Jeanne d'Albert to arrive at the Despiau-Wlérick Museum !

 

Le Musée Mont-de-Marsan

Welcome to the museum

The alliance of old and modern

 

The Despiau-Wlérick Museum is located in the heart of the historic centre. The art and sculpture enthusiasts will be delighted to visit this 13th century building. It is also possible to visit the two gardens. In addition to its permanent exhibit, the museum offers cultural events all year long and for all ages. Conferences, Archaeology National Day or relaxation centre are some few examples of the cultural events open to all. In 2018 the museum joined in 2018 the community of the Musées Joyeux (Happy Museums) which are committed to offering a better welcome to the youngest and their family. Amongst the initiatives, a booklet to complete is available to facilitate the visit of the youngest. A good idea, don’t you think ?

 

Another symbolic place of Mont-de-Marsan and the Landes culture : are the arenas of Plumaçon. With more than 7,000 seats, the arenas welcome nearly 480 events each year ! They are mainly bullfighting shows including the Courses Landaises (ancient form of bullfighting that involves no bloodshed) and bullfights... It is a shame that the arenas cannot be visited when there are no events.

 

Arènes du Plumaçon

The arenas of Plumaçon

 

After this visit, you should be like me, seduced by Mont-de-Marsan. Why not extend your stay and visit the surroundings ? Take the opportunity to do a stop at the Hôtel de la Renaissance. This 3* building is easily accessible and really pleasant : spacious rooms, extensive breakfast, attentive staff…
For the high season, there is a campervan site located at few kilometres from the centre.

 

Finally and to know more on the activities to do in the surrounding area, have a look to our agenda.

 

The Place Charles de Gaulle offers beautiful surprises

Grocery in Mont-de-Marsan


Did you like this article ? Follow us on our Facebook’s page for more articles !


Article and photos prepared by Mélanie Oliva for Guide des Landes 


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