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contact info

Christine & Graham Lynch
Barthalé, 09300, Montferrier

00 33 (0) 5 61 05 39 12


relaxing activities with climb09


Based at comfortable accommodation which we can arrange for you in the heart of the Ariège Pyrénées, there's no end of relaxing activities you can enjoy...

...from lazing in the garden, visiting the festivals and markets, stepping back in time in the Cathar castles, exploring the impressive local caves to more vigorous pursuits including skiing and even house-hunting - there's a holiday here for everyone!


Roquefixade Castle

cathar castles

The Cathar castles which dot the Ariège and extend to the north and east bear witness to a particular period in the history of this region. During the 12th and 13th centuries Catharism, a divergence from the Roman Catholic branch of Christianity, was widely practised in ancient Occitania.

Castles at Roquefixade and in Foix itself are airily perched on rocky outcrops, as is the castle at Montségur - scene of the barbaric end to the crusade against the Cathars. More castles tower over the route east towards Perpignan - those at Piulaurens, Peyrepertuse and Quéribus being especially dramatic.

Interest in this history has soared lately, with the books of Kate Mosse such as Labyrinth reviving local legends. These include the stories from the ancient walled city of Carcassonne, well worth the visit and just one hour away.


caves in the ariège

The limestone geology of this area has resulted in a rich, varied and famous set of caves you can visit. Pride of place goes perhaps to Niaux, famous for its prehistoric cave paintings and offering guided tours. This pre-history is further explored in the 'Parc de la Préhistoire' where youngsters can recreate some of the ways of life from 14,000 years ago.

More cave paintings can be seen at the nearby Grotte de Bédeilhac, and bone carvings at the Grotte de la Vache. More impressive is the Grotte at Lombrives, billed as the largest cave in Europe! Closer to home, the Rivière Souterraine de Labouiche is just minutes from Foix. This boasts the longest navigable underground river in Europe which you can enjoy by boat for a relaxing visit on a hot day.


Cave paintings from Niaux


fun in the snow

Though maybe not the most relaxing activities, there's plenty of fun to be had when the snow arrives here in the Pyrénées. Downhill skiing and snowboarding can be had at Mont d'Olmes, Ascou-Pailheres and Ax-les-Thermes, with cross-country skiing at Plateau de Beille and Chioula. All of these resorts are less than an hours drive from Foix. In very snowy winters there's even cross-country skiing at a small station at the top of our valley.

Days out on 'raquettes' (snow-shoes) are also an option - a great chance to have a 'walk' in the fresh air on untouched snow.



house hunting

We have had several visitors join us to stay for a few days while searching for a house in the area, and we'd be just as happy to welcome you for the same reason. We can tell you a bit about the villages you are looking in and supply a list of website links for estate agents in the area.