On the road
Population: 152,286 (2011)
Sub-Prefectures: Pamiers, Saint-Girons
Surface: 4,890 km2
Largest town: Pamiers (Pop: 16,000)
Economy: agriculture, talc (Ax), tourism, metallurgy, chemicals (Pamiers), energy (Lacq).
Specialities: azinat (soup), crawfish, tomme d'Ariege (cheese).
Tourism: winter sports (Ax 3 domaines, Ascou-Pailheres, Plateau de Beille, le Chioula, Goulier Neige), Caves of Lombrives and Mas d'Azil, castle of Foix, spas (Ax-les-Thermes, Aulus, Ussat-les-Bains).
Population: 1,260,226 (2011)
Sub-Prefectures: Saint-Gaudens, Muret.
Surface: 6,309 km2
Largest town: Toulouse (Pop: 442,000)
Economy: aeronautics (Airbus), space (Arianespace), agriculture (cereales), freight.
Specialities: cassoulet, sausage of Toulouse, wines of Fronton, violet, Peteram of Luchon (tripes), garlic in Cadours.
Tourism: Toulouse (place du Capitole), spas (Luchon), winter sports (Peyragudes, Super-Bagnères), Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges.
Km 66 : Pamiers
The most populated town in Ariege is only a sub-prefecture but has plenty to offer to the visitor from the sober St Antonin cathedral, the Cordeliers Tower or the canals that made its wealth. It was the start of a Tour de France stage in 2010.
Tour de France of the Monuments Nationaux
The Château and ramparts of the city of Carcassonne
The city of Carcassonne is known primarily as a fortified medieval town, but this promontory has been inhabited since the 6th century BC, when a Gaulish settlement was established, and was later an active urban centre in Roman times.
In the 3rd century AD, a rampart was built, the remains of which are still visible today in the inner enclosure. The Viscounts of Trencavel built a castle on the western side of this fortification in the 12th century, which was extended a century later, and an enclosure constructed around the castle. In the meantime, Carcassonne had been captured by Simon de Montfort during the crusade against the Cathars, and annexed to the royal estate. In the 13th century, the construction of the outer enclosure and modernisation of the inner ramparts turned the city into an impregnable fortress and a kingpin of French defences along the Aragon border. Within the town walls, the Saint-Nazaire Basilica combines a Romanesque nave and side aisles with a Gothic transept and choir. It has remarkable stained-glass windows, the oldest of which date back to the 13th century. The city lost its strategic importance after the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed in 1659. It was saved from demolition in the 19th century and then restored by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
This outstanding architectural ensemble is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The monument is opened to the public by the Centre des monuments nationaux.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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