Foix is situated at about 40 kilometres to the southeast from Château Cazalères. It is the capital city of the Arìege, the department where Château Cazalères is situated, and with its 10.000 inhabitants it’s the second biggest city in the department.
The area surrounding Foix has been inhabited since centuries. The Romans already built a fortress on the hill that nowadays houses the Castle of Foix. The city’s history starts around the year 800 A.D., when de Saint Volusien monastery was established. Slowly but surely a village was built surrounding the monastery. Around 1000 A.D. the Castle of Foix, or the Chateau de Foix, was erected. This castle would play an important role in the Catholic Crusades against the Cathars in the centuries to come. However, in the 15th century the castle started to lose its value, and it was turned into a state prison.
Today the castle serves as a museum. It has been renovated completely and is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful castles in the Arìege. When standing on one of the large towers, you will have a stunning view of the surroundings. Visiting the castle is therefore definitely worth your time. Also the aforementioned Saint Volusien monastery has been renovated, and is open to visitors.
When walking around in Foix, you’ll feel like you went back in time. The historic buildings that make up the city’s heart are nicely visible from the old and narrow streets. The botanic gardens make for another highlight, together with the castle and the monastery. A little south of Foix you’ll find Les Forges de Pyrène, a thematic village in Middle Ages style. Here you can see how blacksmiths, shoemakers and bakers used to do their jobs, and in the museum next door you can take a look at many different objects that have been collected around Foix throughout the centuries.
During the summer months there are lots of activities in and around the Castle of Foix. Most of which have something to do with the Middle Ages and knights: there are torchlight processions, ‘Middle Age’ farmers markets and shows. Definitely a wonderful experience for the children!