Foix is a small city, practically a village, yet important as the capital of France's picturesque, albeit sparsely populated, Ariège department. It is also, in many ways, the gateway to the Pyrénées, situated smack in the midst of diverse and contrasting worlds, where the mountains meet the valley, with rivers and streams crisscrossing the land, and where France's borders with Spain and Andorra are but a stone's throw to the south, the latter just 30 miles away. Both coasts, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, are also within easy driving distance, as are major cities and attractions of southwest France, as well as the adjacent, increasingly popular Cathar country with its magnificent castles. All of which make this an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding country of the Pyrénées that offers up a full spectrum of adventures in both summer and winter.
Foix itself is also not without interest. It is an historic city, to be sure, dominated by its striking medieval castle that sits on a knoll overlooking the city and is visible from virtually all directions. The city is notable, too, for its colorful local markets, a delight for shoppers, and its prehistoric caves where one can view (cave) paintings from a bygone era.
Top Destinations in the Midi-Pyrénées
A Brief History of Foix
Historically, Foix’s unique position – both remote and close to crucial borders – has resulted in this small city gaining unusual power and influence over the years. The city has become embroiled in wars between counts and kings, between Aragon and Castille, Toulouse and Barcelona and even between England and France as well as Spain and France. Its unique location has also resulted in it serving as a refuge, for the Cathars as well as downed World War II pilots fleeing Nazis.
Geographically, Foix is situated a mere 40 miles to the south of Toulouse.
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