Stage-town for the 7th time
Prefecture of Ariège (09)
Population: 9,600 (Fuxéens, Fuxéennes) 32,000 Inhabitants of the agglomeration community Pays Foix-Varilhes (42 communes)
Specialities: liver sausage (pork), azinat (stuffed cabbage), mounjetado (enriched cassoulet), duck, Tomme des Pyrénées, Flocons d'Ariège (confectionery), Hypocras (medieval aperitif)
Personalities: Gaston Fébus (14th century, Count of Foix), Jean-Pierre Bel (former President of the Senate), Fabien Barthez (1998 football world champion), Jean-Marc Doussain and Fabrice Estebanez, Fabien Pelous (rugby), Chloé Morteau (Miss France 2009), Perrine Laffont (mogul skiing), Yoanna Dallier (freestyle football), Clément Racine (leader of the Patrouille de France)
Sport: 46 sports clubs with 3,655 members. US Fuxéenne (rugby). White water stadium, velodrome, dojo, aquatic area.
Economy: administrative city, 4 economic activity zones plus the city centre. University centre: Superior Institute of Tourism, Catering and Food, Teaching School. Tourism (nearly 90,000 visitors/year, particularly for the Château de Foix).
Festivals: Foi'R de Rue (June, sand sports, street arts, etc.), International Film Festival on the Resistance, Trad'Estiu (July, Occitan folklore), Jazz in Foix (July), "Foix Terre d'Histoire" sound and light show (August), Night of the Horse, Ingénieuse Afrique Festival (August), Foix Festivals with fireworks fired from the castle (September)
Label: 7 Grands Sites d'Occitanie in Ariège including the Château de Foix
Websites / FB / Twitter : https://www.mairie-foix.fr/ / http://www.foix-tourisme.com/ / https://www.ariegepyrenees.com/ / https://www.agglo-foix-varilhes.fr/ / http://www.ariege.fr/ / http://www.tourisme-occitanie.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/villedefoix/ / facebook.com/OfficeTourismeFoix / https://www.facebook.com/ariegeledepartement/ / https://twitter.com/tourismeariege / https://twitter.com/ariegeledpt / https://www.instagram.com/ville_de_foix/ / https://www.instagram.com/ariegeledpt/ / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/TourismeOccitanie/ / https://twitter.com/Occitanie / https://www.instagram.com/tourisme_en_occitanie/?hl=fr
A completely renovated castle
The department of Ariège, owner of the castle of Foix, listed as a historical monument since 1840, has carried out the rehabilitation of the site in 2019 for an unprecedented amount of 9 million euros. The stated aim was to attract 100,000 visitors per year ready to spend three hours or more in Foix. In order to give the castle a new lease of life, the company in charge of the renovation carried out the development of the castle's heritage site and the creation of a museum as well as the conservation and security of the castle. The development of the site and the creation of the museum required a major renovation of the building, the demolition of 80 pc of the floors as well as the creation of a concrete veil and ochre concrete floor. The restoration also involved the consolidation of the retaining walls, the replacement of the ashlar staircase in the square tower and the restoration of the ashlar crenellations in the round tower. Due to the location and the complexity of accessing the site, the supply of the work was carried out by helicopter. The work was completed in June 2019, just before the last Tour de France.
FOIX AND CYCLING
The last visit of the Tour de France in Foix was marked by the beautiful victory of Simon Yates on the Prat d'Albis, but it was Thibaut Pinot who made the biggest impression in this stage, attacking 6 km from the summit to surprise the other favourites and to establish himself as a serious candidate for the final victory. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, a knee injury decided otherwise. The prefecture of Ariège has recently been favourable to French riders since, the year before, in a short stage from Saint-Girons, Warren Barguil had won and collected precious points for the conquest of the polka dot jersey. This first stage victory of "Wawa" in the Grande Boucle was all the more convincing as the Frenchman had outwitted a prestigious trio composed of Alberto Contador, Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana. In 2008, Kurt-Asle Arvesen became the third Norwegian winner of a Tour stage at the foot of the castle, after a sprint won with millimetre accuracy in front of Swiss Martin Elmiger and Italian Alessandro Ballan. In 2012, Luis Leon Sanchez confirmed his taste for the roads of Ariège. The Spaniard won both in Saint-Girons in 2009 and in Foix in 2012. A few years earlier, the 1984 Tour de l'Avenir was largely played out around Foix, with Charly Mottet being part of a breakaway. The next day, he won the stage that started in Foix and finished in Saint-Gaudens, before taking the lead in the general classification. Ariège is also home to one of the world's greatest Grand Fondos, the Ariégeoise, one of whose routes, the Passejade, passes through Foix in June.
Castle of the Counts of Foix
Construction: 11th century
Characteristics: Standing on a rocky outcrop, this medieval castle dominates the medieval town of Foix with its high walls and three towers. It offers a panoramic view of the Pyrenees.
History: this impregnable and still intact fortress was built in the year 1000. It was the home of the counts of Foix, some of whom were famous, such as Gaston Phébus, whose motto was "touch it if you dare". Henri III of Navarre, the last Count of Foix, became King of France under the name of Henry IV.
Current destination: departmental museum of the Ariège, the castle devotes several rooms to the history of the county of Foix, to the construction in the Middle Ages, to the history of the castle when it was a prison and to many other temporary exhibitions.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1840
Abbey of Saint Volusian
Construction: 12th century, restored in the 17th century.
Characteristic: the portal and the base of the nave walls are the main parts of the medieval church.
History: In 1104, canons regular of Saint Augustine took possession of an abbey housing the relics of Saint Volusian. The construction of a vast church with three naves and a transept then began. In the 14th century, the Romanesque chevet was replaced by a new polygonal choir. The building was ruined during the Wars of Religion and its relics were burnt. Reconstruction work began in 1609 and was probably completed around 1670.
Special features: there is a romantic organ with 40 stops built by Leroy-Legendre & Fermis & sons in 1869 and restored by the Lucien Simon and Jean-Pascal Villard company in 2004. The gallery organ, its case and its instrumental part have been listed as historical monuments since 1997.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1964.
Underground river of the Labouiche
Sitting comfortably in a boat, you follow the river Labouiche, the longest navigable underground river in Europe. The four-kilometre-long route leads through the bowels of the Ariège, from rooms to galleries decorated with numerous concretions, passing by the Salette waterfall. www.labouiche.com
The Estive The Estive national stage is a major cultural venue in Ariège: it offers more than 40 shows per year in Foix and throughout the department. L'Estive supports artistic creation and sets up awareness-raising activities to bring culture to all. It also manages the "Art et Essai" cinema at the Estive Foix and the "Ariège Images" travelling network throughout the department.
The Devil's Bridge
Fortified bridge with two arches, built in the 13th century. Like all "Devil's Bridges", there is a legend about it: the architect who made a pact with the Devil could only finish building the bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross it. But smarter than the Devil, he made a cat cross it.
The Rebech, a white-water stadium
The quality of the facilities, the staff and the natural site of Rebech, specially designed for white water sports, make Foix an essential platform for the various championships, but also for training and advanced courses. In 2010, Foix hosted the Junior World Canoe-Kayak Championships (slalom). More than forty nations took part in the competition. In 2025, the site will once again host the world's elite juniors and under-23 for the World Canoeing Championships.
Azinat was the basic dish of the Ariege peasants, from Tarascon, Massat, Siguer or elsewhere, each village having its own way of preparing it. There are two kinds of azinat, the "poor" one, which is close to garbure, and the "rich" one, which is a real festive dish because it is decorated with "rouzole", a stuffing prepared with sausage meat and local ham.
Serves 10: 2 large green cabbages, 10 carrots, 8 potatoes, 3 pork shanks, 8 duck legs, 3 pork rinds, 1 rouzole (stuffing) weighing about 500 g, well fried
First blanch the whole cabbage. Then put them together with the carrots in a pot of cold water with a ham bone, the pork shanks and the rind sausages. Season with salt and pepper and cook very slowly, about two hours. Then add the rouzole, potatoes and duck confit. Cook slowly for another hour. The broth is used to make a soup au gratin by pouring it over country bread and sprinkling it with grated cheese. Meat, vegetables and rouzole are then served as a complete dish.