Ground of sport and nature
Country of mountains and lakes of altitude, Ariège is furrowed paths marked out for stroll family or the more sporting excursions.
A foot, à.vélo, with horse or back of ass, the walker discovers punctuated sumptuous landscapes of throats, cascades, hamlets and barns.
Two great fields are arranged for the VTT: the site of Cominac and that of Chioula.
The winter, Guzet-Snow, Ax Bonascre, Ascou Pailhère, the Mounts of Olmes offer to the amateurs of Alpine skiing all the feelings of good slips. Ariège east, moreover, the first Pyrenean field for the ski touring with the station of the plate of Beille which offers 75 km of marked tracks or the station of the Pond of Lers, just to the top of Massat.
Crossed by the GR. 10, the domanial reserve of the Mount-Valier whose top culminates to 2838 m is one of oldest of the Pyrenees. Of a surface of 9000 ha, it knew to keep its wild character It is the kingdom of the isard, the marmot, the eagle, the capercaillie, the bearded gypaète and many sparrows of mountains. In summer, the ONF proposes guided tours.
Country of waters running and cascades, Ariège conceals also many sources with the beneficial virtues. On the eight thermal spas qe counted formerly Ariège, only three are today: exploited Aulus Baths for the urinary and metabolic diseases (cholesterol, diabetes, obesity...). Ax them Thermal baths for the respiratory affections and the rheumatic pains, Ussat Baths for spasmophilia, the migraines, insomnia, and all disorders related on the stress and the anxiety.
Ground of history
If Ariège knew to keep its wild character, it does not remain about it less one very old ground of history. Thus, it presents an exceptional whole of caves decorated with cave paintings dating for the majority from the time magadalénienne. Most known is the cave of Niaux, famous for the quality of its paintings, but one can also visit the cave of the Cow, close to Niaux, only site French where the pubic can see in situ the 20 years result of excavations, the cave of Beideilhac: with low reliefs modelled out of clay single in the world, the cave of the Farmhouse of Azil dug naturally in the heart of Plantaurel which offers a singular underground unit, the cave of Lombrives (Ussat) vaster cave of Europe open to the public or the underground river of Labouiche to 60 m under ground which is the largest navigable underground river of Europe.
The Pyrenean Park of the prehistoric Art of Tarascon-on Ariège offers on 15 hectares a ludic, cultural space and scientist which makes it possible to discover this world of the first men and paintings now inaccessible like those of Niaux.
But Ariège ennorgueillit also of a Romance inheritance. The Romanesque art ariègeois is an original mixture of Spanish Romanesque art and Toulouse art marked by a hard mountain faith and paîenne. In addition to the city of Saint-Lizier who is one of the Romance sets most remarkable of the Pyrenees, Ariège offers a tourist tour of Romance vaults dating for the majority from XIème or XIIème like the church D Mongauch with its splendid frescos, the vault of Mercus and its carved gate, Arnave with its square chorus, Axiat, Mérens, Gesties, Miglos and its square bell-tower, Daumazan and its bell-tower with side to cross, Sabar, one of the oldest sanctuaries of the Midday-Pyrenees. Saint Jean de Verges, true jewel of the Romanesque art, church the strengthened of Saint-Félix de Tournegat, Unac with its white marble posts and its capitals and the very mysterious rupestral church of Valleys partly troglodyte and decorated Romance frescos. The abbey of Combelongue (Rimont) founded in 1138 by the Count de Pallar is one of rare testimonys of a Romanesque architecture of mudéjar influence.
As of XIIème century Ariège was a ground of asylum for the cathares. Vestiges of this tragedy still roughcast its grounds. Famous Monségur, citadel cathare emblematic where 225 Perfect was sharp flarings, always draws up its ramparts, the castle of Roquefixade close to Monségur, the castle of Miglos, the castle of Usson, but also the village of Montaillou which was the last place of subsistence of the popular catharism ariégeois also testify them to this bloody religious period.