Foix's Short History
Foix is the capital of the Ariege department. It is situated at the feet at the Pyrenean mountains.
Ariege region was inhabited since the Paleolithic age, some 14,000 years ago, as attested by the paintings that can still be admired in the Niaux Grotte. The town is inhabited since Roman times when a first stronghold is built.
The town developed first around the Saint-Volusien abbey built initially by Benedictine monks in the 8th century and then around the castle in the Xth century. The first county of Foix was established in 1012 when Bernard I becomes the first count. The Counts of Foix had, along the centuries, quite an amazing social ascension : in 1209 the then Count of Foix became Viscount of Bearn, in 1455 they were declared at the Treaty of Barcelona the heirs of the kingdom of Navarre and in 1589 the king of Navarre becomes the king of France. This climb is more remarkable give that they many times fought against the central power.
During the Cathar crusade the Counts namely Roger Bernard de Foix fought alongside the cathars – against the Northern barons (considered as heretic he was judged posthumous in 1270, unburied and had his remains burned by the Inquisition).
During the religious wars, Foix was a safe heaven for the Huguenots that were coming for the protection of the King of Navarre a Huguenot sympathizer.
The County of Foix is definitively attached to the French Kingdom in 1607 during the reign of Henri IV … the last Count of Foix!
Being situated in a pre-mountainous region Foix is not far from two relief specific "the longest in Europe" tourist attractions. They are the sub terrain river of Labouiche – the longest underground navigable river in Europe - and the Lombrive Cave – listed in the Guinness Book as the biggest cave in Europe.