I visited medieval Foix Castle in southern France after my trip to Grotte de Niaoux and Aulus les Bains. Foix Castle is a little further north from the mountains that I climbed to reach the Cascade d’Ars waterfall. Foix is a pretty nice place so read this article to walk around the old town and the castle with me.
Medieval Foix Castle & OId Town
The old town and the main street in Foix are very historical. Walking towards the castle from the main car park is very easy as there are lots of signs along the way. The town of Foix is a very nice place and being completely honest I didn’t know much about it before this visit. All I knew was what I read in the rough guide and I think from what I can remember is that this is a 12th or 13th century city and it’s been inhabited by French people ever since.
As you walk up towards the castle, you will see the ancient city of Foix behind you. The main entrance to the castle is halfway up the hill. It is here where you can buy your tickets. The entire visit will take about one hour, including the museum, the three towers at the top and the wall walk. You can also practice archery with bow and crossbow if you want to try.
Approaching Foix Castle
After the main entrance to the castle there is a ramp before you can approach the first big tower. You will get a leaflet with your ticket detailing the history of the castle in a few bullet points.
The leaflet says they built this fortress in 1000 and ever since it’s been dominating this area. There are also various boards explaining the history of the place. In the distance if you look south, you can see a little hill in the middle. On top of that there is another castle with a French name: “Pain de Sucre” or the sugar loaf.
Controlling the Area
The Sugar Loaf castle and Foix Castle had the same owners and they controlled this entire area. So basically, there is a river here in the valley and anybody that wanted to go south towards Spain, had to cross here and pay the toll to the owner of the castle, who was at one time the king of France.
At the top of the mound there is the round tower and the square tower. If you watched my previous video about Arundel Castle in England you will totally recognise this tower here. It looks exactly the same as Arundel except for the stone that they used to build it.
The Round Tower
Walking up towards the top of the round tower is a bit of an effort. It’s very similar to the square tower, except it’s got stone steps not wooden steps. I was completely out of breath by the time I got to the top because it is so much taller than the other ones. I am not going to lie, I was pretty scared shitless – you could see all the way down to the bottom of the tower from the top. That is 32 meters!
While I was walking around the castle I found out that this place was also the home of Henry IV, King of France. I even managed to enter the tower where they store Henry IV’s bed. It was a really narrow staircase going all the way up to the top. The bed of Henry IV was nothing spectacular, I imagine it’s just one of those reconstructed furniture. It didn’t look anything special to me.
The view from his room was pretty amazing though. You can see over the entire town – I imagine he kept a close eye on his property!
Visiting Foix castle is a truly enjoyable experience and I would recommend it to anybody interested in medieval history. Well, thank you for reading and come back for more!
There is more…!
Read my article about the following subjects if you are interested in a road trip around southern France. I did it myself in a couple of days so it’s perfectly doable. If you like to watch videos, check out my youtube channel as well.