The most beautiful villages of Ariège

Le Mas-d'Azil
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Ariège has many villages classified among the "Most beautiful villages in France" . We offer you an overview of the most remarkable sites . No jealousy, we will follow a loop to discover all the territories of Ariège .

Montsegur


We start our journey by the Ariège gate and we enter the Cathar country , through a major city of Catharism , Montségur . In a preserved environment, within the regional nature reserve of the Massif du Saint Barthélémy , it is a mountain village where you can feel the harshness of its past. Since prehistoric times , the site has been occupied. Passing through the hands of Romans, Protestants, Catholics and Nazis, its history is tumultuous.

The visit of the castle of Monségur is sporty but it deserves the ascent . The panorama is exceptional. In the village, the historical and archaeological museum will reveal its secrets to you. Many hikes also allow you to enjoy the natural park .


Camon


Nicknamed the “ village of a hundred roses ”, Camon is truly typical of the region. Strolling through the pretty alleys of this fortified village is a real pleasure. The abbey is a gem that will offer you a refreshing break . Without forgetting its rose garden of course and the dry stone huts that surround it.

Nearby, you can admire the remains of the old castle of Lagarde . Lake Montbel is also worth a little detour. The Mirepoix tourist office offers a guided tour of Camon and its stone huts .

Camon

Photo: Remparts de Camon Source: Pierre Bona CC BY SA 2.0

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Mirepoix


This country house of the 14th century has preserved a rich medieval heritage: squares, half-timbered houses, its wooden gallery ... You will also find the House of Chivalry and an imposing cathedral.

In the surroundings, you can visit a bison farm and a bamboo park . All information is available on the website of the tourist office , which also offers a guided tour of the bastide .

Mirepoix

Photo: Mirepoix

Saint-Martin-d'Oydes


Saint-Martin-d'Oydes has the particularity of being built on a circular plan . If there are other villages of this type in France, it is unique in Ariège . To appreciate this originality, it is better to gain height and follow the path which dominates it.

Carla-Bayle


This Protestant citadel is today a city of the arts . In addition to its many galleries , the village of Carla-Bayle supports the arts through its association: meetings, events, workshops ... Its visual arts festival highlights this beautiful village.

On site you can admire the panorama and the ramparts , and visit the Pierre Bayle museum . Below, Lake Carla-Bayle offers swimming and fishing . To please children, don't leave the town without having taken advantage of its adventure park , the Sequoia Vertigo , with zip line, treasure hunts and arboretum . For more information, here is the page of the Arize-Leze tourist office .


The Mas-d'Azil


Mas-d'Azil , is known for its famous cave , eponymous site of the Azilian . We go back in time, up to 32,000 years before our era , at the junction between prehistory and history… The site allows an immersion in the heart of this culture which precedes the Neolithic. But Mas-d'Azil has lived through many other key moments in history .

Dolmens in particular show its importance during the Bronze Age . It is also a former Protestant bastide , which experienced an epic siege : 14,000 soldiers from Richelieu ended up giving way to this rebellious village, but after five interminable weeks!

All the visits and activities to do nearby are available at the Arize-Leze tourist office . Do not miss Xploria Park, a forest to go back in time on animals of yesterday and today . To have your head in the stars, the Sabarat Observatory organizes evenings and activities .

Mas d'Azil

Photo: Mas-d'Azil

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Saint-Lizier


We enter the Gascon province of Couserans , within the regional natural park of the Ariège Pyrenees . Saint-Lizier is home to a very important religious heritage : cathedral , bishops' palace, parish church, chapel and cloister, which has made it famous. This city also has a real treasure : the stick and the reliquary bust of the Saint. The tourist office offers a discovery walk .

Also worth visiting: the 18th century pharmacy-museum . For children, there is also a park: Au pays des Traces to locate animal tracks in nature. And for gourmets , the Monségur is made in Saint-Lizier.

Saint-Lizier

Photo: Saint-Lizier

Seix


Seix is located in an exceptional environment which offers many nature activities : hiking , caving , rafting ... Sportsmen will have a blast! After sport and comfort, the village promises a relaxing stroll to discover its castle , its church , its priest's garden and its beautiful houses.

For a more unusual visit, go and explore the mines . Or for a gourmet break , stop by the Grenier à jambons .


Aulus-les-Bains


This spa resort is known for its healing waters . This pastoral village is located in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains , between waterfall and forest . A true haven of peace for nature lovers .

More information on the Aulus thermal baths, here .

Before leaving Couserans, we invite you to follow us on a gourmet getaway .

Aulus les Bains

Photo: Cascade d'Ars in Aulus-les-Bains Source: MatthieuMD CC-BY-SA-3.0


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L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre

In Haute Ariège , near Andorra, l'Hospitalet, as its name suggests, is a former refuge . It is a typical mountain village. Located at a geographical crossroads, it is the starting point for many hikes .

Hospitalet near Andorra

Photo: L'Hospitalet-près-d'Andorre Source: Cevenol2 CC-BY-SA-2.0

La Bastide de Sérou

To complete the loop…, we end with the Pays de Foix . La Bastide de Sérou promises you a beautiful stroll, with the Pyrenees in the background: its tower, its old houses, its church and its market ...

To discover original animals , the Reptile Farm will satisfy the curiosity of young and old . For more information, here is their website .



Many other villages are worth a visit. Ariège has such a rich heritage that it is impossible to make an exhaustive selection. The order indicated is not chosen according to the beauty or the interest of the sites. It corresponds to a loop to offer you a tour of the Ariège .


You want to know more ? To get to know the regions of Haute Garonne, Ariège and the Pyrenees better, here is our full article . To organize your visits, the site of the tourist office of Ariège is at your disposal.


Did you like our article? Find more on our Blog . Follow us on the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide Facebook page and on Instagram @guidetoulousepyrenees.


Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Toulouse Pyrénées Guide.


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