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Lavelanet - steeped in history

The town of Lavelanet, which is located in the foothills of the Pyrénéan Mountains in the Ariège department of southern France, sits in an area which is steeped in history and mystery. Close to the town is the last Cathar castle of Montségur, whilst the old Cathar stronghold of Foix is also a near neighbour. The River Touyre runs beside the town, and the countryside varies from the soft fields and fruit orchards of the valley to the dramatic soaring peaks of the mountains above.

Downtown Lavelanet

Lavelanet is well equipped with shops and services, and there is a lively market that takes place in the centre of town too. Fabrics have long been an important product of Lavelanet, and the market stalls reflect this, with chances to purchase tablecloths, bedspreads, clothes and all manner of crafted items as well as the more usual fresh fruit and veg, wines, cheeses and other local specialities.

Stylish cinema

One thing that you cannot help but notice as you drive through the centre of Lavelanet is the stylish Art Deco cinema which occupies a prime position in the town. I can't promise you English Language films here, although you may be lucky and find one being shown in the original language with French sub-titles. It's worth going, though, just for the building!

Sports and leisure

There can hardly be a better place for fans of extreme and adventure sports, as Lavelanet lies in the heart of a natural adventure park! The mountains provide skiing, climbing, hiking, mountain biking, dog sledding, snow shoeing and much, much more, whilst the surrounding countryside offers swimming and boating on Lake Montbel, fishing in the plentiful rivers and small lakes, and pursuits such as pony trekking and tennis too. There is a go-kart track within a very short drive of Lavelanet which is always popular with the children... and their Dads! It is also worth noting that Lavelanet was Stage 12 in this year's Tour de France, so don't be surprised to see a good number of road cyclists around trying to emulate their heroes.

Out and about

The region is rich in history, and is a great place to trace the tragic and somewhat mythical history of the Cathars with their castles and grail stories. Visit the cities of Carcassonne and Foix, climb to the ruins of the last Cathar castle of Montségur, or take your courage in both hands and take the twisty roads that climb up into the mountains (and sometimes seem perilously close to dramatic drops!) and enjoy the amazing views. There is a great prehistoric park at Tarascon, which offers a fascinating view of a forgotten world. Not far away too lie Spain and Andorra, so there is no excuse to be bored... the world lies at your feet in this part of France! The great city of Toulouse is also within reach and certainly worth a visit.

How to get there

If you want to travel from the UK by air, you can fly to Toulouse, Carcassonne or Perpignan. Toulouse is served by British Airways, easyJet, bmi, Jet2 and flybe; Carcassonne by Ryanair; and Perpignan by Ryanair, bmibaby and flybe. Train travel is another option, as the TGV will get you to Toulouse, from where you can find a local service to Foix. If you are driving to Lavelanet, the town is found from the N20 on the D117.

Property prices availability in and around Lavelanet

Lavelanet offers a good opportunity to purchase a property in an idyllic area at a very reasonable price.

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Lavelanet AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Lavelanet?

Lavelanet is set in the south of France, in the foothills of the Pyrénéan Mountains. It lies in the east of the Ariège department, not far from its region's border with the Pyrénées-Orientales department.

Lavelanet Property Map


Midi-Pyrénées Guide

Midi-Pyrénées Property Map


Ariège Guide

  Ariège Map

Population: 7,000

Access: By air: Fly to Carcassonne or Toulouse. By road: Lavelanet lies near the N20. The D117 runs through the town. By rail: There is a railway station at Foix, which is not too far away.

Economy: Lavelanet is a thriving town with a mixed economy involving agriculture, commerce and light industry. Manufacture of fabrics is significant. Tourism is also a factor thanks to the nearby ski resorts.

Interesting fact: Among Lavelanet's famous sons are Fabian Barthez, famous goalkeeper of the French national team, and rugby man Benoit Baby.

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