The fine medieval town of Foix dates back over fifteen thousand years. The Romans were the first to settle here building a fortress on the rocky peak and it has maintained its regional status to this day, now serving as the capital city of Ariege.
Gateway to the Ariege
Tour de France hosts in 2008
Ideal base for
Exploring the Ariege
White water rafting
Ski snowboard nearby
Ax 3 domaines
Duty free Andorra less than 75km away
It has long been a favourite destination for travelers not just for its geographic importance as the gateway to the Ariege but for its fine medieval feel; the narrow cobbled streets of the old centre with their fountains, half timbered houses, squares and ninth century abbey provide a wonderfully French setting for a stroll and to stop at one of the bars or restaurants along the way.
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. From the castle the counts of Foix successfully ruled over their fiefdom, fought for independence and provided an important refuge for the persecuted Cathars.
Foix serves as an excellent base from which to explore the local area rich in cultural and historic sites. These vary from some of the most significant prehistoric cave systems to be discovered in the world, fascinating Cathar castles at Foix, Roquefixade and Montsegur through to the numerous renowned local markets such as those at Foix and at Mirepoix.
The surrounding landscape provides the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts. There are plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, horse riding and white water rafting in summer. In 2007 Foix hosted the start of one of the major stages on the Tour de France. The route took on no fewer than five referenced mountain passes including the Port de Balès (19.5 km at 6.2%), a first for the Tour before finishing at Loudenvielle.
On 16th July 2008 Foix will be hosts again, to the Tour de France. They start at Lannemezan in the Hautes Pyrenees and after 166km will larrive in Foix; this will be a fast race as their will be no big cols to climb.
As the snow falls then the local ski slopes beckon. Mont d’Olmes provides good family skiing, nearby Ax serves up more technically challenging pistes and the vast domains of Andorra are less than 75km away.