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Principal town of the Ariège

Foix, which lies in the foothills of the Pyrenean Mountain range in southern France, is the principal town of its department, the Ariège. Close to the tiny country of Andorra, known as a tax haven and mecca for duty free shopping, Foix sees many pass through on their way to Andorra. But it is deserving of more attention, due to its fascinating history and beautiful situation.

Half-timbered houses and two pretty rivers

Backed by the majestic Pyrénées, Foix is a lovely old town with a thriving modern community. However, the appeal of Foix is, in part at least, due to the attractive old quarter of the town, where many of the houses are of the "Colombage" with timbers on the exterior. There are narrow, winding streets and pretty sparkling fountains in this old sector, and a few hours can be very pleasantly spent just soaking up the atmosphere, along with the sunshine which frequently blesses Foix. The town also has two rivers running by, and this again adds to its charm.

Château des Comtes de Foix

The town is dominated by an imposing chateau, the Château des Comtes de Foix, which sits atop a hill overlooking Foix. This was once the home of Raymond Roger, a well known Cathar sympathiser, and his sister Esclarmonde, who was a Cathar Perfect (priest). Both characters are mentioned in Kate Mosse's best selling blockbuster about the Cathar wars in this region, "Labyrinth".

Historical chateau

The Château des Comtes de Foix, standing in its commanding location above the town, is well worth a visit. Its three distinctive rectangular towers mark it out as special at very first glance, and if you have any interest in the tragic history of the Cathars which unfolded in this part of France in the 11th and 12th centuries, a closer look at this castle is a must.

Shops and restaurants

Despite all its history, Foix has a lively modern life nowadays, and there are some excellent shops and restaurants to enjoy. Foix has all the amenities you will require to lead an everyday life, with banks, schools, hairdressers and similar facilities all close to hand. The town is also exceptionally well placed for popping across to Andorra to pick up some duty free shopping… great for stocking up on a bottle or two of your favourite malt whisky for Christmas! The drive through the mountains is also interesting and scenic.

Mountain sports

Sporting opportunities in Foix centre on the mountains, and the town is an excellent base for skiing and walking, as it is only a stone's throw from some of the best ski and mountain resorts in the Pyrénées. Try Ax-les-Thermes, Les Angles, or Puyvalador for good skiing for all levels. Many other mountain-based activities are available too, with pony trekking, snowboarding, fishing, mountain biking and dog sledding all easily accessed from Foix.

How to get there

To reach Foix from the UK by air, you have a number of choices. Toulouse airport offers you direct flights with BA, easyJet, bmibaby, bmi, and flybe. Perpignan (Ryanair, bmibaby, flybe) and Carcassonne (Ryanair) are also close by. Toulouse has a TGV station, so it is possible to complete your journey by train, with Eurostar taking you from London to Paris or Lille, a TGV taking you to Toulouse, and finally a local train bringing you to your destination of Foix.

Property prices and availability in and around Foix

The Ariège has experienced price rises in recent times, but it still represents one of the cheaper places to buy property in the south of France. Far from overdeveloped, the scenery around Foix is spectacular, the climate very agreeable and the town both usefully equipped yet attractively historic. If you enjoy country life, history, sunshine and snow sports, there could be few better choices than Foix. There are still a good number of renovation properties available.

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Foix is situated in the far south of France, lying slightly in the east of the Ariège department, in the foothills of the Pyrenean Mountains.

Foix Property Map


Midi-Pyrénées Guide

Midi-Pyrénées Property Map


Ariège Guide

  Ariège Map

Population: 10,445

Access: By air: Fly to Toulouse, Carcassonne or Perpignan. By rail: Take Eurostar to Paris, then a TGV to Toulouse. Finally catch a local train for Foix. By road: The town lies close to the A9 motorway, and the N20 route nationale to Spain.

Economy: The economy is varied and thriving, with a good number of businesses registered.

Interesting fact: The town is dominated by the Château des Comtes de Foix, which was the home of Raymond Roger, a well known Cathar sympathiser. The sister of Raymond Roger, Esclarmonde, was known to be a Cathar Perfect (priest).


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