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Ariège Property Listings and Info

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The perfect hideaway

Ariege was once an independent country with a proud identity. It is located on France's southern border next to Spain and Andorra and contains vast areas of countryside unspoilt and largely unpopulated. The department is ideal for people wanting to get away from it all. At the dawn of human history people would have taken shelter in the many caves that dot the landscape, later the Cathars would come here to escape the Catholic Church and, more recently, anti-Nazi resistance fighters would have hidden here.

Picturesque Foix

The capital of Ariege is Foix, a very small town with much charm. Two rivers and one mighty rock surround the town giving it a very picturesque natural setting. It has survived a number of attempted takeovers keeping the town's castle very active over the centuries. Simon de Montfort once vowed, quite ambitiously, to 'melt the rock of Foix like fat and grill Cathar count Raymond Roger in it'. However, after a few attempts at storming the castle he gave up and decided to burn the town down instead.

Pioneering the Couserans

The western part of Ariege is called the Couserans. Its one of the most deserted areas in the country, which only adds to its appeal. The Lez and Salat rivers accompanied by their many tributaries flow down the mountain sides and into the valley below.

Curious architecture

The ancient capital of the area is St-Lizier. Don't miss an opportunity to check out the cathedral. From the outside it doesn't look very unusual but step inside and you can observe some of the most baffling architecture ever built. One wall is tilted, the columns are irregular and the choir and nave have been constructed on different axes. The people who ran the church weren't without a sense of humour, though. A statue of Jesus looks on with a strict yet alarmed expression on his face.

Ax-les-Thermes in Ariege - A hidden gem for skiing!

The resort of Ax-les-Thermes - 3 Domaines (Bonacsre) has 75km of runs (green, blue, red and black) also a purpose built snow park for snowboarders. The resort is at 1400m, with slopes rising to 2300m. There are lots of restaurants in Ax-les-Thermes, the small town linked by a new cable car to the ski resort. There is excellent skiing, friendly people and the ski properties are half the price of the Alps! The resort is 1.25 hours drive from Toulouse airport, and is on the main rail link to Toulouse,or Paris or Barcelona .

Gill and Rob Gregory add... "We bought a ski property here 5 years ago and are surprised no other English people have bought in this hidden gem. The Tour de France has finished a leg here for 3 out of the last 4 years. Excellent walking fishing etc. in summer".

Exploring the caves

If you haven't explored any prehistoric caves then you really haven't been to Ariege. Since the construction of the D119, it's got even easier. The road bends right into the mouth of the colossal Grotte du Mas d'Azil. Inside, you can visit the galleries showcasing caveman art.

How to get there

There are regular flights from the UK servicing Toulouse, Carcassonne and Perpignan. Another option is to take either a P&O service from Portsmouth to Bilbao or a Brittany Ferries service from Plymouth to Santander and then travel up over the Pyrenees. Alternatively, the fast and comfortable TGV service will take you all the way to Toulouse.

Ariege property prices

Despite depopulation of the region, the local economy is continuing to improve and property prices are starting to rise. At the time of writing we have an old riverside house near St-Girons with four rooms at €136,900.

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WHERE IS Ariège?

In the south of Midi-Pyrenees on the Spanish border

Ariège Property Map


Midi-Pyrénées Guide

Midi-Pyrénées Property Map



Foix Guide

Lavelanet Guide

Massat Guide

Mazères Guide

Mirepoix Guide

Pailhès Guide

Pamiers Guide

Saint Girons Guide

Tarascon sur Ariège Guide


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