Auch Monumental Staircase

2012 Grant of $216,055—The Florence Gould Foundation

Auch is the historic capital of Gascony and the prefecture of the Gers department. The city has many treasures: medieval houses, the 14th-century Tower of Armagnac, a 15th-17th-century Cathedral with exceptional stalls and facade, a remarkable 18th-century City Hall, the second largest Pre-Colombian Art Collection in France (from a private donation), the Prefecture in the former 18th-century Episcopal Palace. This monumental staircase, serves as a vital and aesthetic passage from the higher part of the city to the lower part. It is 35 meters high and opens onto a double flight of stairs with 374 steps. Its impressive architecture, inspired by the Renaissance, makes it one of the most beautiful monuments of the Gers region.

Built on embankments remaining from the demolition of the former “Chanoinerie” the work quickly deteriorated and the first repairs had to be undertaken in the early 1930s. In 1931, the sculptor Michelet executed the statue of d’Artagnan, the famous Gascon, Captain of the King’s Musketeers. The statue was placed on the first landing of the staircase.

In 1943, the work was classified as an Historic Monument. In 1978 and in 1997, the city of Auch undertook heavy consolidation work, shoring up and even reconstructing parts of the monumental staircase. In 1994, it was registered in the supplemental inventory of historic monuments.

Restoration: The monumental staircase