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Title: Foix  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: County of Foix, Éric Carrière, Louis Pailhas, Arrondissement of Foix, Privas
Collection: Communes of Ariège, Prefectures in France
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


View of Chateau de Foix in Lazema area
View of Chateau de Foix in Lazema area
Flag of Foix
Coat of arms of Foix
Coat of arms
Foix is located in France
Country France
Region Midi-Pyrénées
Department Ariège
Arrondissement Foix
Canton Foix-Ville
Intercommunality Pays de Foix
 • Mayor (Since 2014) Norbert Meler (PS)
Area1 19.32 km2 (7.46 sq mi)
Population (2007)2 9,712
 • Density 500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 09122 / 09000
Elevation 358–933 m (1,175–3,061 ft)
(avg. 400 m or 1,300 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Foix (French pronunciation: ​; Occitan: Fois ; Catalan: Foix ) is a commune, the former capital of the County of Foix. Today it is the Préfecture of the Ariège department in southwestern France in the Midi-Pyrénées region. It is the least populous administrative centre of a department in all of France, although it is only very slightly smaller than Privas. It lies south of Toulouse, close to the border with Spain and Andorra. At the 2009 census, the city had a population of 9,861 people. It is only the second city of the department after Pamiers which is one of the two sub-prefectures.


  • History 1
  • Education 2
    • Primary education 2.1
    • Secondary education 2.2
    • Higher Education 2.3
  • Population 3
  • Heraldry 4
  • Philately 5
  • International relations 6
  • Personalities 7
  • Tour de France 8
  • Sights 9
    • Botanical Garden 9.1
    • Granary 9.2
    • Castle 9.3
    • Saint-Volusien Abbey 9.4
    • Old Town 9.5
    • Chapel and area of Montgauzy 9.6
    • The Alleys of Villote 9.7
  • Bibliography 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Château des Comtes de Foix

The Romans built a fort on the rocky hill where the Château de Foix castle now overlooks the town. The town of Foix probably owes its origin to an oratory founded by Charlemagne, which afterwards became the Abbey of Saint Volusianus in 849. The current area was preceded by the County of Foix.

The founding, in 849, of the Abbey Saint-Volusien allowed the development of urban living in the tenth century to the twelfth century. The city reached its peak in the fourteenth century.

The castle, whose foundations date back to the early tenth century, was a strong fortress that withstood the repeated attacks of Simon de Montfort IV between 1211 and 1217, during the Albigensian Crusade. In 1272, when the Count of Foix refused to recognize the sovereignty of the king of France, Philip the Bold personally took the leadership of an expedition against the city, subsequently the count surrendered. In 1290, at a meeting of the Béarn region and the county of Foix, the city was practically abandoned by the Counts. Gaston Phoebus was the last to have lived in the castle, and by the sixteenth century the castle had lost its military purpose. The castle was then used as a prison until 1864.

In 1536 began the first Reformation preaching in Foix, and in 1579 the church of Montgauzy was destroyed. The same fate awaited the abbey and its church in 1581. The following year, Foix was retaken by Catholics, and in 1589 the Count of Foix, Henry of Navarre, was crowned King of France and became Henry IV.


Primary education

  • Lucien Goron primary school
  • Cadirac Primary School
  • Cardie Primary School
  • Courbet Primary School
  • Bruilhols Primary School

Secondary education

  • College Lakanal
  • Gabriel Fauré General and Technological School
  • Jean Durroux Vocational School

Higher Education

  • Central University of the Ariège



The coat of arms used by the commune has the blazon D'or à trois pals de gueules (gold with three red stripes). This is replicated on the flag, and in the arms of the département. It originates from the arms of the Counts of Foix, and, as such, dates back into medieval times. It bears a resemblance to the coat of arms of Aragon, both featuring in the coat of arms of Andorra.


In 1955 the post office issued a postage stamp with a face value of 50 cents, consisting of the black, green, yellow and red representing the Arms of County of Foix which is referenced as YT 1044. It is part of the eighth century series of Provincial Coat of Arms.

In 1958, the post office issued a postage stamp with a face value of 15 f., consisting of Ultramarine, gray, brown and green representing the Château de Foix which is referenced YT 11759.

International relations

Foix is twinned with the following places:


Tour de France

Foix was the start of Stage 15 in the 2007 Tour de France. It has also been the finishing town of Stage 11 in the 2008 Tour de France and of Stage 14 2012 Tour de France.


Botanical Garden

The botanical garden, Les Épines de Lespinet, has a collection of cacti and succulents, as well as citrus trees, banana plants, and Mediterranean vegetation.


The granary, dating from 1870, is in the style of Victor Baltard.


The castle stands on a rocky outcrop, to the west of the town. The majority of the present building dates from the twelfth century to the fourteenth century. In the North, the square tower, covered by a slated roof at the end of the nineteenth century, is certainly the oldest because it dates the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The middle tower, built in the thirteenth century, was completely renovated in the fourteenth century. It has beautiful architectural features such as sculpted heads and coats of arms keystones. The round tower on the other hand has Gothic architecture with large bays illuminating beautiful hexagonal vaulted halls.

Saint-Volusien Abbey

In 1104, the regular canons of St. Augustine took possession of an abbey housing the relics of St. Volusien. It was then that the construction of a large church with three naves, with a transept, was undertaken. In the fourteenth century, the Romanesque apse was replaced by a new polygonal chancel. The building was destroyed during the religious wars and the relics were burned. Reconstruction work was undertaken from 1609 and completed in 1670. Of the medieval church, there are mainly the portal and the base of the walls of the nave remaining. There is an organ of 40 stops, built by Fermis in 1869 and restored in 2007.

Old Town

This still retains its medieval character as reflected in the narrow streets (Rue des Marchands, the Rue des Chapeliers), and some half-timbered houses.

Chapel and area of Montgauzy

Of the primitive Romanesque church and the church of the thirteenth century, there is nothing left. The present church dates partly from 1628, and kept the Romanesque layout and a portal that imitates the style. The history of the chapel Montgauzy is hectic. Its foundation commemorates the victory of Charlemagne over the Moors in 778, and the chapel became a place of pilgrimage. In 1340, the Bishop of Pamiers, Arnaud Villemur, had to intervene against incivility of some of pilgrims which were becoming increasingly numerous (there were reports of noisy evenings). On January 4, 1562, the chapel is one of the many targets of the Reformation and in 1579 the governor of the castle of Foix demolished it. It was rebuilt in 1628 and the pilgrimage recommenced. Following the revolution, having been rebuilt, it is sold in 1791. This private property, due to lack of maintenance, then falls apart. It is the turn of the department to make the purchase in 1840. An École Normale is installed in the area and the chapel in 1843 is made fit for worship. It closed again in 1883, and the furniture is scattered. After repairs in 1943, it was again reopened for worship.

The Alleys of Villote

The "Villote" (small town), in the Middle Ages, was a space outside the walls surrounding the city built in 1330. Executions took place sometimes at the alleys. In the thirteenth century, after the destruction of the city walls, tree planting and urban works with a fountain and orchestra setting, make it the choice for walking for the local Fuxéens. The site currently houses the festivities of the city, the market (every Friday) as well as many shops, eating places and public services.


  • Claudine Pailhès, Le comté de Foix: un pays et des hommes : regards sur un comté pyrénéen au moyen âge (Louve, 2006) ISBN 2-916488-09-X, ISBN 978-2-916488-09-7, 462 p. [1]

See also



External links

  • Medieval History of Navarre
  • Official website (French)
  • List of Counts of Foix
  • Rulers of Languedoc (including Foix)
  • Discover Foix on
  • [2]
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