"Foix, Castle of Three towers" Foix by TygerLyn
Foix Travel Guide: 30 reviews and 87 photos
Foix, the capital city of Ariege, is a fine medieval town.in the Ariege department of the southern Midi-Pyrenees, about 80 km south of Toulouse.
Romans settled here first and built a fortress on the rocky peak. It was the seat of the Counts of Foix, who were very supportive of the Cathars. Esclarmonde, the sister of Count Raymond-Roger was famous for being a Perfect herself. Massenet composed an opera about her. You will also find links to this family in Montsegur and Puivert. The town is dominated by its castle, most of which is 10th century, although the tall round tower is 14th century. It was built on top of a rocky outcrop dominating the town below and the mountains stretching behind. It was strategically positioned to defend the nearby river, the existing town and access to the valley stretching south into the Pyrenees mountain range. The Castle has three towers - all completely different: a sturdy square tower, a round tower, and a tall thin roofed tower. Very architecturally inventive in some ways. There is no other building like this in Southern France. The two square towers date to the 10th century, and the round tower to the 14/15th century. (No-one seems to be able to date it positively which is unusual as there must be records still about this). It has been an active castle, used for many things - playing an important role in the wars of the middle ages, then becoming a garrison, then remaining a prison until towards the end of the 19th century. The castle now contains the Museum of Ariege.
Foix has narrow cobbled streets in the old centre with fountains, half timbered houses, squares and a 9th century abbey and has a wonderful medieval atmosphere. It is a great place to while away a day and explore. There are many restaraunts and, of course, the speciality is their own version of Cassoulet! This area tend to make with heavier meat such as goose or duck and merguez instead of Toulasain sausages.
Now, the reason for the title is (wait for it, another of my little tales) that the last time I visted Foix was coming back from le Vivier in 99 with Mac, Kitty and JaDe. We had had stunning weather whilst we were staying in le V but it changed that day and it was grey, cold and a persistant drizzle. As we had left early, we stopped at Foix for a coffee and a bit of a stretch leg. It was late September and the place was deserted. Trying not to speak with too much of a Catalan accent I approached a couple in their late 50's and asked them where the nearest public loo was. He smiled, She smiled,. They both nodded. I thought "My accent isn't that bad, surely", so I repeated the questioned. They both nodded. Then the man said "Sorry, honey, we don't speak a word of French". I roared with laughter. "Well, mine isn't too hot" I replied. After a conversation about where they lived in the States, where I lived in the UK and what we had seen whilst we had been here, they said they did know where the loo was because the sign was just behind my head! Much leg pulling from the rest of my group when I related this tale later.
Saint-Volusien Church. When we visited this back in the 90’s, we went into the Church simply just to “view”. Luckily for us someone was teaching an organ scholar and after ten minutes he took over, leaving the scholar to turn pages for him. There then followed the most wonderful organ recital that continued for nearly an hour. I am afraid I cannot describe the inside of the Church because we were transfixed by the glorious music. What a treat!
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