Ariège Pyrenees


Region Info

Why Ariège Pyrenees?


  • Fantastic region for diverse activities: Hiking, Cycling, Spas and Nature.
  • A region steeped in history, keeping true to it's past traditions.
  • Get carried away by the beautiful landscapes and vast history! Take a journey from pre-historic times until the crusade against the Cathars.
Go to the French Pyrenees - Pyrenees Collection

The Ariège Pyrenees region nestles in the central Pyrenees, next to Andorra with it's highest peaks visible from Toulouse. It is one of the most unspoiled regions of France, whose inhabitants, much like the Pyrenees in general, have held fast to their traditions. The countryside is full of wildlife and is easily accessible. There are 18 valleys that make up the western region of Ariège, while the rest of the departement more closely has closer ties to the Languedoc region.

The Couserans is a land of mountains, foothills, prairies, lakes, waterfalls and forests and is entirely contained within the Parc Naturel Régional (Region Natural Park) of the Ariège Pyrenees. The town of St-Lizier is celebrated for its Roman art and architecture. Its neighbour, St Girons, is the capital of and gateway to the Couserans. The landscape is extremely varied: from the rolling, agricultural farmland of the Volvestre through the forests and mountain pastures around Castillon, Massat and the upper Salat river to the wild, unspoiled Mont Valier reserve where isards roam.

The region is a fantastic area for  the active holidaymaker with several sports taking place from natural features (rivers & lakes etc.) to man made features (trails etc.). The region benefits from top grade trout streams rushing down forested mountainsides into rivers where kayakers paddle. Waymarked walking trails lead to 3000 metres peaks where isards, marmots and even bears roam. Cyclists can take in a stage of the Tour de France, mountain bike down tracks or gently pedal in the valleys.


The great amount of wildlife makes the region a nature lovers paradise! Numerous species of butterflies, orchids and raptors thrive here thanks to the endurance of ancient farming practices such as the transhumance, when cows, sheep and Mérens horses are led up to the high summer pastures. the area also boasts history with it's many prehistoric caves, Cathar chateaux and WWII escape routes over the mountains being a testament to the ways Ariège has served as a place of refuge and resistance throughout history.


For those who dream of new horizons, Ariège provides an incredible scope for exploration right on your doorstep. In this countryside, whether alone, as a couple, with family or with friends, you will discover genuinely unique places. You may feel that when you are in the Ariège Pyrenees, that you are a prehistorian explorer, a Roman in thermal baths, a Cathar knight, a nobleman of the middle ages or maybe even a snow trekker. Let yourself be drawn to “Nature’s pull” of the Ariège Pyrenees.


Walk, relax, explore, marvel and recharge yourself. Explore in the wild or warm up next to a wood-burning fire, relax in the thermal waters of the Bains de Couloubret or tan under a high altitude solarium or maybe meet the locals with the secrets of their hamlet, the choice is endless...and yours!


Far from the “off-the-shelf” picture postcard images, you’ll find the most beautiful treasures in the Ax valleys: a 14,000 year old history of humanity, a rich culture, generous locals and traditional villages. Little villages, mountain lakes, majestic peaks, summer herds, a profusion of mountain fauna. Here, it is all the real thing. The Ax valleys will seduce you through their truth and simplicity. All paths lead to discovering Nature as if frozen in time.

Ax Les Thermes
The pretty spa town of Ax Les Thermes is located in the Ax valley. The charming old village stands on the confluence of the Oriège, Ariège and Lauze rivers has a friendly, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere and a rich history. The town has a good selection of bars, restaurants and general amenities.

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