WITH THE FAMILY ON THE ROADS OF ARIÈGE

the essential
THE SUN IS IN THE PART. IN THE BACKGROUND, THE PYRENEES WATCH OVER THEIR FAMILY OUTING. AND IF YOU LET THE THOUSAND TREASURES OF THE ARIÈGE PASS YOU? AN ENCHANTED PARENTHESIS IN WHICH YOU GET PREHISTORIC MONSTERS, CATHARIC KNIGHTS AND GHOSTS OF THE BISHOPS OF COUSERANS. ON THE WAY ! _ Alexandre Leoty

The picnic you have prepared with your family is well packed, unless you have planned to stop along the way at one of the small gourmet restaurants whose secret Ariège holds. Cap screwed on and curiosity slung over your shoulder, you set off on a happy ride on the back roads of the former county of Foix. The journey through time can begin under the benevolent gaze of the Pyrenees chain appearing in the background. First drive towards Château de Foix. Completely renovated as part of a Titanic project completed in 2019, the building shines in a whole new light. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the medieval town of Foix, at the confluence of the Arget and Ariège rivers, its high walls and three towers appear to greet you majestically. Heir to the work of the twenty-two lords of Foix, who shaped the territory through alliances and conflicts, the castle bears witness to the Count’s powerful rule at the time. Alternately stately residence, barracks and prison, it now houses a museum that traces the incredible history of the place. A museum space that, before the health crisis, welcomed around 82,000 curious visitors every year, making the Château de Foix the most visited site in the department.

In addition to troubadours and minstrels

Their immersion occurs in several stages. First of all, welcome to the former governor’s palace, which extends over around 2,000 m2. Here, let’s say we learn while having fun! Through seven skillfully constructed sequences, visitors will discover all the mysteries of this great Pyrenean lineage, reliving its conquests, its alliances, its defeats, its beliefs and its passions. On the menu: games, interactive content and augmented reality. A journey that will take you from the year 1000, when Bernard founded the dynasty, to the year of 1589, when Henri de Navarre became King of France. The opportunity to discover the history of the castle and the town, but also to immerse yourself in the legends that were told around the fireplace at the time. Next here is the Livre de la Chasse, an immersive and interactive scene dedicated to the passion of Gaston Fébus. A stone’s throw away you will admire medieval armour, then you will be invited to the table of Count Gaston IV of Foix along with troubadours, jugglers and minstrels. Since summer 2020, the most connected among you can benefit from a new feature available throughout the museum space: audio commentary offered free of charge in multiple languages, directly on your smartphone. And if you end your visit inside the castle with a small impromptu selfie on the cathedra – the throne – of the count? The visit continues on the terraces, where you will discover incredible war machines such as the trebuchet or the boulder and an impressive drum winch. Every day workshops are led here by characters in costumes. Immersion guaranteed! Note: Many activities are planned for the coming months (exhibition on June 26th, “Murder Feast” on July 8th and September 9th, night visits on July 12th, August 2nd, 16th and 23rd, Gaston aperitif on August 26th and 9th). . July and 9 August.. .).

In the heart of the Bishop’s Palace

You take the road again. Perhaps you are planning a little detour into the depths of the earth? In that case, the Caves of Ariège – topped by Bédeilhac, Mas d’Azil and Niaux – are made for you.

Would you like to continue your journey through time? Visit Saint-Lizier and its majestic Episcopal Palace! Former Gallo-Roman city, then seat of the bishopric, the capital of Couserans bears witness to its glorious past at every moment. You will have fun strolling through the streets and discovering the Saint-Lizier cathedral and its cloister, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Sède cathedral, its Gallo-Roman ramparts and of course the famous Palais des Bishops. Alternately bishop’s see, prison, beggars’ depot and insane asylum, the palace, which reopens its doors in April, houses the collections of the Ariège Departmental Museum. A museography completely revised in 2020 to experience the place and its history interactively. Thus, on the four levels of the museum, you approach five main themes: the Roman presence in Couserans, the development of Saint-Lizier, the history and architecture of the Bishop’s Palace, life in a Pyrenees valley at the beginning of the 20th century and the strange History of the psychiatric hospital housed within these walls between 1811 and 1969. Note: This summer, there will be Palace Under the Stars events on July 21 and August 11.

In the footsteps of Cro-Magnon

Your journey through time continues, even further in the meanders of the past. Here is the Park of Prehistory in Tarascon-sur-Ariège, in the heart of a protected landscape of the Pyrenees, a cirque dominated by the Pic des Trois Seigneurs, very close to the Sédour massif. No grand formal speeches here, but an intimate encounter with human history through a new approach to the origin of art, based on discovery, play and emotion. Ready for the trip? On almost thirteen hectares, a discovery tour will take you to the heart of prehistory, alongside the men and women of the Magdalenian. Dotted with lakes, rivers and prehistoric camps, the outdoor circuit features participatory workshops, activities and demonstrations. Here you will learn to recognize footprints, shoot a thruster and paint like Cro-Magnon! And in the “Grand Atelier”, a huge museum building dedicated to prehistory, the immersion will be just as complete. The bravest among you will not hesitate to face the “Giants of the Ice Age” who walk along a winding path amidst a reconstructed landscape of great glacial steppe. Do you hear those growls? There they are, the cave lion, the steppe bison, the megaloceros deer and even the woolly mammoth! There’s even a gopher worthy of Scrat, the famous rodent from the Ice Age animated film… Note: the Parc de la Préhistoire is also organizing a series of events in the coming months (egg hunt on April 18th, Prehistory Night on April 18th). 18th of June …). Your journey through time ends with stars in your eyes. Ready for a new adventure?

PRACTICAL INFORMATION :

— CHÂTEAU DE FOIX: Prices: adults €11.50; child from 5 to 17 years €8; students under 26, €9; Family pass (two adults and two children), €36. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Until 7 p.m. from July 7th.

— BISHOP’S PALACE: Prices: adults, €7; child from 5 to 17 years, €5; students under 26, €6; Family pass (two adults and two children), €20. Open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (from 8 July from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).

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