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"Touche-y si tu oses" - "Touch it if you dare!"
Gaston Fèbus, Count de Foix motto, an allusion to his impregnable castles, including Foix Castle .
The Castle of Foix dominates from its rocky promontory the town of Foix and the Valley of Ariege River. According to some legends a sanctuary dedicated to Abellio - the sun God of the Iberians - was situated on the castle cliff.
The first mentions of the existence of the castle date from the 10th century AD. In the 11th century the fortress became the power hub of the newly created Foix earldom.
During the centuries the castle that was never abandoned (for 2 centuries starting from the 18th century it was used as a prison) undertook many restorations the most recent one being the one in the 19th century by the architect Paul Boeswilwald the son-in-law of he famous architect Eugene Viollet le Duc.
The first earl of Foix was Bernard Roger who inherited this territory of the South of Toulouse at the death of his father Roger Le Vieux, Earl of Carcassonne.
The last Earl of Foix was...Henri III of Navarre who inherited the earldom from his mother Jeanne d'Albret - during the centuries the Earls of Foix extended their influence and power to become Kings of Navarre! - and who of course went to become the King of France under the name Henri IV.
But the most legendary figure of the early history of Foix family is Esclarmonde de Foix. The name Esclarmonde means, in true Cathar fashion, "the light of the world".
Esclarmonde was the daughter of Roger Bernard II de Foix and the sister of Earl Raymond-Roger de Foix. After becoming widow around year 1200 she turns to Catharism, receives the "Consolamentum" and becomes a "Perfecti", meaning a true cathar follower. For her work of spreading the Cathar creed and efforts to come to a pacific solution in the conflict between catharism and Catholicism Esclarmonde is named "The Great Esclarmonde" by her admirers.
Related article: Foix Castle Medieval Festival
- Everyday from 10:30 to 12:00pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:30pm
Closed December 25 and January 1st.