Foix is in southern France, an easy drive away from Toulouse. Foix is most famous for its medieval castle and winding narrow streets leading up to it and although it is a small town, there are plenty of things to do in Foix. If you have the time, you should visit Foix from Toulouse as it is a pretty little city, making it well worth a trip.
How to Get to Chateau de Foix Castle
Foix is a little over an hour’s drive away from Toulouse, a major city in the south of France. You can also take the train from Toulouse Matabiau station, which is a direct ride, taking 1h14m.
I visited medieval Foix Castle in southern France after my trip to Grotte de Niaoux and Aulus les Bains. Foix Castle is north of the Pyrenees Mountains where I climbed up to the Cascade d’Ars waterfalls that same day. Foix is a pretty nice place so read this article to find things to do here during your visit. The below video is about the old town and the castle, walking around the ancient streets with me.
Things to do in Foix in France
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 historic center 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 book. During my visit I learned that Foix is a 12th or 13th century city and it’s been inhabited by French people for hundreds of years.
As you walk up towards the castle, you will see the ancient city of Foix around 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. The views from the castle are stunning as the pictures below demonstrate.
Things to do in Foix Castle
Passing the main entrance to the castle there is a ramp. Walking up the ramp you can approach the first big tower which served as a defensive post out here. You will get a leaflet with your ticket detailing the history of the castle in a few bullet points, but here is the jist of it:
The leaflet said that 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.
The French King Controls the Area
The Sugar Loaf Castle and Foix Castle used to have 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 in Foix Castle
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 – 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 bits of 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!