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Green Tourism

Set in an authentic setting in the Ariège, Domaine La Belle Histoire is the ideal place for a nature break.

With a key position for tourism in the heart of the Pyrenees (close to several French cities such as Toulouse, Lourdes and Carcassonne), Domaine La Belle Histoire is ideally located to attract visitors from all horizons. You'll enjoy a host of outdoor activities and a natural landscape that will give you a real change of scene from your everyday life. The Cathar countryside will hold no secrets for you!

Pyrénées Cathares - Domaine La Belle Histoire
 Voie verte- Domaine La Belle Histoire.jpeg
photographie Robin HURTADO

The green lane

This former railway line has been transformed into a trail for walking, horse-riding or mountain bike riding. 
The 38-kilometre route from Mirepoix to Lavelanet reveals a side of nature never seen from the traditional road. It's a bit like being behind the scenes. But what a backdrop!

It's a breath of fresh air, serene and soothing.
The route is dotted with the small villages of our region and the most beautiful Cathar sites, so it's easy to spot the Château de Lagarde, the fortified village of Camon (most beautiful village in France), the beautiful village of Chalabre (Aude) .... The Lac de Montbel sits proudly in the middle of the route, an ideal spot for a refreshing picnic (or snack)!



You can also find out more about the route interactively, as well as hikes and service providers in the vicinity of the greenway, on the website:

Medieval City  Mirepoix

The beautiful bastide town of Mirepoix is located in the Cathar Pyrenees region, which has been awarded the Pays d'Art et d'Histoire label. The town was rebuilt according to the regular bastide plan after a major flood in 1289. The square has retained its original medieval structure. You'll be able to admire its 15th-century covered market and superb half-timbered houses on wooden galleries. Mirepoix is famous for its Maison des Consuls (Consuls' House), adorned with carved woodwork, and for its ancient cathedral of Saint Maurice, which is an impressive 22 metres wide. Mirepoix is a very attractive town, offering a wide range of events from April to November (Médiévales, puppet festival, potters' market, apple festival, etc.). Not to be missed: the big Monday morning market! You'll love strolling between the stalls in a friendly, colourful atmosphere.

And the best part: a drink on the terrace....

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photographie Robin HURTADO

Montbel Lake

Montbel Lake, in the Cathar Pyrenees, is a refreshing oasis in the heart of a rugged mountain landscape, close to some of the region's most beautiful sites. Straddling the Aude and Ariège departments, Lac de Montbel was originally created to irrigate the wide plains of the farmers as far as the Lauragais region.
Over the years, it has become a very pleasant spot for swimming, fishing, walking and water sports, leaving travellers amazed at the azure colour of the water and the sheer size of the lake (550ha, 60 million m3 of water).


With the heat of July and August approaching, the lake is the ideal place to cool off! There are two ways to access the lake and enjoy a swim: on the Montbel side and on the Léran side.

For families, there's a supervised beach on the Léran side of the lake that's sure to delight the little ones!
The beach offers a splendid panoramic view of the Tabe massif, with its Pic du Saint Barthélemy and Pic du Soularac.

From Montbel, the beach offers a superb view of the hills bordering the lake.


Discover Lac de Montbel just 25 minutes from Domaine La Belle Histoire

The town of Foix and his Castle

Although the first fortress to be erected on the rocky outcrop dates back to Roman times, the town expanded during the Middle Ages. A tour of the town reveals its architectural heritage.

The narrow streets, passageways and pontils of the rue des Grands Ducs, the half-timbered houses of the Place Parmentier, the fountain known as the "goose fountain" but which actually represents a swan, the grain market, the abbey church of Saint-Volusien... all the ingredients are present in the centre of Foix, you just have to keep your eyes wide open and dare to take a diversion through the narrow streets...

The names of the streets and squares along the way evoke the atmosphere of the town in the Middle Ages. 


With its high walls and three towers, the Château de Foix stands at the confluence of the Arget and Ariège rivers, offering one of the finest views of the Pyrenees.

Two of the three towers feature immersive settings: dungeon, scriptorium, bedroom, weapons room, banqueting hall, stewardship room... Welcome to Gaston Fébus!
A number of workshops run by mediators dressed in period costume will introduce you to the use of bows and crossbows, stone-cutting and blacksmithing, as well as ingenious lifting and war machines.

At the foot of the castle, the former courthouse has been converted into a 2,000m2 museum where you can discover the history of the Counts of Foix through their conquests, defeats, unions, passions and beliefs.

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Montsegur chateau.jpeg
photographie Robin HURTADO


At the foot of the foothills of the Ariège Pyrenees, the village of Montségur lies at an altitude of 900 m at the bottom of the Lasset valley. It has a rectilinear "soulané" layout, meaning that all the houses in the village face the sunrise. The current village of Montségur, now a listed village, dates back to the 14th century. 

The main attraction is the castle of Montségur, famous for its Cathar history and one of the last places of resistance to the northern barons and the Pope. From the castle you have a panoramic view of the mountains and plains of the region. In the present-day village, there is an archaeological museum displaying objects unearthed by archaeologists from this period. Of course, the commune also has a number of beautiful hiking trails that are accessible to all. For the more sporty, there are long-distance footpaths (sentier cathare and sentier des bonshommes) which cross the commune.


A magnificent fortified village, Camon is listed as one of the "most beautiful villages in France". Surrounded by a wide loop of the Hers valley, the peaceful village of Camon blossoms in a superb setting of hillsides. Lovers of old stones should not hesitate to stop off here on their escapades along the tourist routes.


The village fortress offers a beautiful panorama in the Hers valley on the edge of the département. An authentic, unspoilt site in the heart of the Hers valley. Camon offers a wide range of attractions, including the medieval village, the ramparts, the church, the abbey and the dry-stone huts.

Camon comes alive with colour and fragrance in May... Follow the many rose bushes that adorn the medieval streets and facades of the village all the way to the church, where you can discover the treasure. This is one aspect of the village that you must come and discover.

Camon is on the GR7 from Mirepoix via Lagarde. There are signposted footpaths in the village that allow you to take a number of walks in the surrounding area and to Lac de Montbel.

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Others Cathar Castles

Ariège is certainly the destination that still holds the most secrets, mystical places, villages and, above all, castles linked to Catharism. The Cathar castles, bastions of rebellion and resistance to the Catholic Church, are exceptional places to explore in Ariège!


Roquefixade Castle
An enclave of Toulouse in the county of Foix, Roquefixade remained loyal to the Counts of Toulouse at the time of the crusade against the Albigensians. Perched atop an impressive cliff, the fortress of Roquefixade has faced Montségur since the 11th century.


The Château de Lagarde
"The Versailles of the Pyrenees
Situated not far from Mirepoix, this ruined castle is impressive for its size, location and fine remains. 


Puivert Castle

Of all the Cathar castles, the Château de Puivert is certainly one of the best preserved. It is also one of the most interesting 14th-century monuments. With its 35-metre-high keep, in which four splendid rooms are superimposed, and its six defensive towers, this fortress dominates the ancient glacial lake of Puivert. Its recently restored keep offers a view of the Quercorb plain to the north, Montségur in the Pyrenean peaks to the west and the Bugarach peak to the east.



And there are other 'little castles' that have also left their mark on history: Château de Montaillou, Château de Miglos, Château du Mirabat, etc.

Saint Lizier

Perched on a hill above the Salat, close to Saint-Girons, Saint-Lizier is one of the most beautiful towns in the Ariège and France. This ancient Gallo-Roman site, with its Bishops' Palace, is packed with treasures and bears witness to its rich past.


Saint-Lizier, in the heart of the Couserans region, can be explored through its charming cobbled streets, secret passageways and pretty flower-filled squares, making it a haven of peace for anyone strolling through.

Around every corner, the views are breathtaking. You'll be amazed by the views across the valley: green meadows and forests, the river flowing past and the snow-capped Pyrenees in the distance. Here, peace and quiet bring serenity.


As you enter the village, you'll notice the beauty and richness of the architecture. Many of the sites are steeped in history, with astonishing monuments listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela. Saint-Lizier has not one, but two cathedrals that have stood proudly for centuries.


Outdoor activities

The Ariège offers a multitude of activities for families and friends.


Hiking trails
Around Mirepoix, there are 30 way-marked footpaths for a total of 243.1 km of walking. Of these, 8 are GPS-tracked, so you can use the app to navigate them easily. Along the way, you'll be able to discover many different aspects of the local area: built heritage, nature reserves, local produce, etc.


The Bamboo Park
A botanical garden dedicated to bamboos, located in the hamlet of Broques, in the commune of Lapenne. Awarded the "Remarkable Garden" label in 2006, the park extends over 5 hectares along the Hers Vif river. In addition to 200 varieties of bamboo1, it includes a labyrinth, an orchard, a restaurant...


Pamiers Skydiving School
Dare to take the plunge and experience the thrill of parachuting at the Ecole de Parachutisme Sportif de l'Ariège! Centre approved by the Fédération Française de Parachutsime.


Kart'Are leisure centre

The Kart'Are leisure centre is located at the foot of the Monts d'Olmes between Lavelanet and Mirepoix, and offers a range of activities including a nationally and internationally approved go-karting circuit, inflatable games, paintball and mountain biking.


Try your hand at canyoning, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, paragliding, potholing and many other activities in this rich department...

Grotte NiauxGrotte Niaux.jpeg

The Prehistoric Pyrénées

Discover the largest underground network in Europe. It's in Ariège, where 14,000 years of history separate us from the first men and women to live in caves. Since the dawn of time, they have taken refuge here, leaving many traces of their passage. The most remarkable caves include the Grotte de Niaux, the Grotte de Bedeilhac and the Grotte du Mas d'Azil. Situated just a few minutes from Tarascon-sur-Ariège, they reveal treasures and masterpieces of cave art. At Niaux, buried 700 metres below the surface, you'll discover a vast rotunda known as "the Black Room", where magnificent bison, horses and deer roam the wall. The Mas d'Azil cave is a unique experience. It's the only cave in the world to have both a river and a road running through it. Accompanied by a guide, explore the impressive dimensions of the cave. You won't believe your eyes!

Grotte NiauxGrotte Niaux.jpeg

photographie Raphael KANN

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