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Foix castle

Chateau de Foix

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From atop its rocky outcrop Foix Castle stands proud and fearless dominating not only the town below but the mountains stretching out behind. For its strategic setting alone it is clear to see why it was described as indestructible by its enemies and proved so for over two centuries.

Built during a time of great territorial rivalry early in the 11th century it was strategically positioned to defend the nearby river, the existing town and access to the valley stretching south into the Pyrenees mountain range.

From the castle the counts of Foix successfully ruled over their fiefdom, fought for their independence against Northern French invaders and remained opposed to the Albigensian Crusades, instigated by the Roman Catholic Church to eliminate the Cathar religion. The castle became an important refuge for the persecuted Cathars which led to Simon de Montfort laying siege to the castle in 1211 and 1212 but on both attempts he failed to defeat them. Their resistance was finally broken in 1229 when Roger-Bernard II the Great, the sixth count of Foix signed a treaty accepting the dominance of the French king and in return received back much of his previously lost land.

In 1290 Roger Bernard III, the eighth count of Foix left the castle and took residence in the richer Béarn after inheriting the lands from his father-in-law. The house of Foix- Béarn continued to flourish leading finally to the accession of Henri III of Béarn and Navarre as Henri IV of France in 1589.

In the 17th century Foix castle returned to prominence as the seat of the governor of Ariège and it remained in functional use as a prison until 1862.

The chateau now houses the Ariège Departmental Museum displaying artefacts dating from prehistoric times, some Gallo-Roman remains and a fine collection of medieval armour and weapons.

Fact Box

Points of interest : Imposing Castle
Ariège Departmental Museum

Opening dates : May, June & September
Open every day from
9:45am – 12pm & 2pm – 6pm

July & August
Open every day from
From 9:45am – 6:30pm

October 1st to April 30th
Open every day from
From 10:30am – 12pm & 2pm – 5:3

Guides available : Guided tour are available

Languages :

Prices : adulte 4,20€
Children (13 - 18 ans) 3€
Children 2,10€
Familly pass (parents & 2 cildren) 12€

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Address :09000 Foix
Telephone :+33 (0)534 098383