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Chateau de Foixtourist information guide
Address: Château de Foix, Foix, 09000
Tel: + 33 (0)5 34 09 83 83
Opening Times: All year except Jan | Admission Charge
Chateau de Foix certainly makes an impression with its three crenellated towers casting a watchful eye over the town. Standing at the junction of the rivers Arget and Ariege, Chateau de Foix was built in the 10th century as a stronghold for the Counts that ruled the Bearn area.
In 1002, the Count of Carcassonne, Roger the Elder, bequeathed Chateau de Foix to his son, Roger-Bernard, who become known as the Count of Foix. Roger-Bernard was a fervent Cathar supporter and his sister Esclarmonde was considered a Bonne Femme or good Christian.
Chateau de Foix proved to be an effective Cathar stronghold and one which Simon de Montfort (who led the crusade against the Cathars) was careful to avoid. In 1272, however, the Count of Foix refused to acknowledge sovereignty of the King of France and Philip the Bold ordered a siege of the town. The Count finally surrendered when he saw the King's garrison hacking away at the rock on which his castle stood.
Gaston Febus (1331-91) was the last count to inhabit Chateau de Foix. He was a colourful character, a brilliant politician and a poet who ordered the death of his own brother and only son.
In the 16th century, Chateau de Foix lost its function as a military stronghold and under Henri IV it was turned into a prison until 1864.
Perhaps the most interesting of the three towers are the central and round towers which still have 14th and 15th century vaulted rooms. Venture to the top of the towers and you'll be rewarded by a view of the Ariege Valley and the Pain de Sucre or sugar loaf in Montgaillard.
Chateau de Foix also houses a museum with military artefacts and exhibits of prehistoric man - remnants of animals, bears and reindeer to name but a few!