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Saint-Gaudens

Travel Guide Europe France Midi-Pyrénées Saint-Gaudens

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Introduction

Saint-Gaudens is a city in the French department of Haute-Garonne in the Midi-Pyrénées region in the south of France. It is part of the arrondissement with the same name and the city itself has about 12,000 inhabitants. Saint-Gaudens is also a town renowned for its rich culture and heritage. The Jean Marmignon theatre is the centre for performing arts, the national street performance centre is famous for street plays and the Saint-Jacques chapel hosts numerous contemporary art exhibitions

Its beautiful location and fine weather make this place and region a great destination for a holiday. The city itself is an ancient fortified town with medieval walls surrouding it. The fortifications and the cobbled streets inside are great fun exploring.
For more information on what to do and see, check the official Tourism Saint-Gaudens website.

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Sights and Activities

  • Fortification walls/ramparts
  • Old cobbled streets
  • Saint-Gaudens Municipal Musem
  • Chapelle Saint-Jacques - Art Gallery
  • Jean Marmignon's Theatre
  • Arts-and-Crafts and Farm Produce

There is good hiking, mountainbiking, horseriding and fishing in the region around Saint-Gaudens.

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Events and Festivals

In the month of May, Rencontres du Saxophone (Encounters with a Saxophone) is held in honour of the famous saxophone player Guy Lafitte, who was a native of the town.

The Comminges Exhibitions Hall that stages various fairs and exhibitions also hosts the ‘Pyreneennes’, the largest agricultural exhibition in the Pyrenees. This is usually held once in every three years in the month of September and attracts more than 40,000 visitors.

From July to September 2009 there is a photo expo about the Pyrenees Mountains.

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Weather

Like most of the central southern region of France, the climate is perfect with generally warm, dry and sunny summers from June to September when temperatures frequently hit 30 °C or more. Nights are pleasantly warm. Winters last from December to March, when it is generally well above 0 °C (even at night) but sometimes frost or snow are possible. Temperatures during the day are around 10 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

The airports of Toulouse, Carcasonne, Pau and Perpignan are within an hour or maybe two. Lowcost airlines like Ryanair fly to Pau and Carcasonne, while more airlines serve Toulouse from countries in the south and west of Europe.

By Train

SNCF offers trains to and from Toulouse, about an hour away. Toulouse itself is served by TGV (highspeed) trains.

By Car

Saint-Gaudens is just south of the main highway that runs between Lourdes and Toulouse.

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Eat

Saint-Gaudens offers plenty of good restaurants to the tourists, in which they can get a feel of the town, enjoy a glass of wine and also try the local specialties. These restaurants cater to the needs of both the budget and luxury traveler. One of the better known of these establishments is the Le Cork Pub which has a lot of local dishes on the menu. You can try the fillet steak with an apricot sauce, which combines the sweet and savory flavors, so typical of the southern France region.

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 6:54 on Sep 20, 13 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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