A few times a year I take a mosaic trip. There’s of course plenty to see around the Roman Empire.
But for the past 3 years, I stayed in France and Germany.
Last July I delivered my Ariadne and Dionysos mosaic in Provence. I had planned to visit the City hall of Manosque where the beautiful and little known mosaic of the 3 graces and Bacchus is displayed.
Arriving at the City Hall, I was told the mosaic had been loaned to some Castle 80 miles away, for an unknown duration… This is not the first time this kind of things happens… I should have called…
I visited some friends in Aix en Provence (Aquae Sextae). Unfortunately, there is no museum in Aix to display the numerous gorgeous mosaics excavated there. Most of them are located in other museums.
We had an excellent dinner, a few bottles of Prosecco and the next morning, I was on my way to Seviac…
I had been dreaming of visiting this place for many years.
I first went to the small town of Eauze, the antic Gallo Roman Elusa, capital city of the Elusates Gaulish tribe.
The whole place is very well organized, there are 3 amazing places to visit :
- The small and very pleasant Archaeological museum, displaying, beside prehistoric collections, several mosaics discovered around Eauze over the past 150 years, and above all the magnificent monetary and artistic Gallo Roman treasure found a few years ago.
- The Domus Cieutat, about 1 km from the Museum, which occupies a full block of the Roman Elusa.
- The Seviac Villa, 14 km away. with its 625 square meters of magnificent mosaics..
You can purchase a ticket pass that gives you access to those 3 sites. It is possible to visit them on the same day, but I decided to take my time to really enjoy the mosaics in all their details, and the local gastronomy. In Summer time, do not forget to carry a bottle of water.
The Treasure of Eauze includes over 28,000 coins, most of them silver, and jewelry of outstanding quality in a remarkable state of preservation. It is the greatest treasure presented in its entirety in a French museum.
No mosaics were found in the Domus Cieutat per se, but preliminary digs carried out next door to it in 2019 uncovered a superb geometric rug. The place was covered back with dirt and left this way during the pandemic. Excavations will begin again in 2023 !
At the end of my visit of Domus Cieutat, I discussed with a young man who had welcomed me in the building. He was passionate about the local archaeology. I showed him a small mosaic I made of a fish part of the great Oceanos Mosaic at the Museum of Saint Romain en Gal. He suggested the museum of Lectoure to be the next leg of my Mosaic trip !
So be it, I would visit Lectoure …after my visit to Seviac…
Lectoure was fantastic, it was a little difficult to find the Museum. It is in fact located in the cellars of the City Hall, which used to be a Monastery. You need to go to the City Hall and ask to see the Museum which is normally kept locked up. A yaung lady took me down there, unlocked some formidable medieval forged gates, and let me visit this small but quite interesting Museum, which actually shelters the biggest collection of taurobolic altars in Europe.
Here is a map of the places I visited in the Gers.
I took me 2 1/2 days to visit. It could be done faster, but you would miss of the charm of the area, the rolling hills covered with grapevines, sunflowers, corn and wheat, as well as its formidable gastronomy.
After all, this is where Armagnac, the oldest brandy (and liquor) recorded is still distilled in the world.
During the next few month, i’ll post details (and many pics) about what I saw and heard in Eauze, Seviac and Lectoure… Please bear with me, it is going to take me a while as I to move in 2 weeks into a new house where I’ll be able to set up a beautiful studio ! 😀