©Deguster|Yannick RIOUT

Immersion in the mountain spirit

Meetings with enthusiasts

The Ariege Pyrenees are a living mountain. Away from the glitz and glamour, the locals love their lives. Here, nothing but enthusiasts who take their time. It’s a place where you can relax, meet people and share. This is the true spirit of our Pyrenean mountains. To understand it, all you have to do is immerse yourself in the villages to soak up and share its values. That’s the only way to truly, sincerely and deeply love the Ariege Pyrenees!

Waking up in the snow

No skiing today

Since Saturday, we’ve been staying in Ascou, a tiny mountain village where we’ve found a lovely stone and wood gîte. Just the right size for the four of us to feel cozy and warm.

It snowed last night. This morning, the little ones tumbled down the wooden stairs and ran to the window. Coffee in hand, my heart melts as I watch them marvel at the white landscape.

For the last two days, we’ve been taking advantage of thetobogganing area atAscou resort, near the Col de Pailhères. It’s a really nice resort, and you can feel that people take the time to live here…

But today, we decided to take a break. The four of us are going to take advantage of this day to discover this valley and these mountains. Already, we’re up later than usual… I suggested we take a trip to Ax-les-Thermes, as it’s market day.

Strolling through Ax-les-Thermes

From discoveries to good addresses

Arriving in the spa town, we follow the discovery itinerary. Thomas is amazed at the naturally warm water. We take the opportunity to soak our feet in the Bassin des Ladres, which my grandmother used to do. She’d already told me about the smell of sulfur.

We then take a trip to the market. It’s amazing how passionate the people here are, and they’re always full of good tips. She recommends a restaurant called La Maison, which serves lots of fresh produce and home cooking. We set off in the direction of Les Cabannes, just below Beille.

Pastoralism and local breeds

Meeting with enthusiasts

We continue our visit to the farm store where Jason, the breeder, welcomes us and immediately transports us into his world, his mountains, his values. He explains local pastoralism and the local breed, the Gascon cow.

Jason advises us to stop off at the village’s fish farm, which has been awarded the red label.


Gourmet break

The mill at Sinsat

I noticed a mill where cookies are made, and I hear you can visit it: it’s the Sinsat mill! It makes for a tasty break. Jason told us to follow the Corniche road, but we’re not sure which way to go.


On the way home

Dream landscapes

The roads are winding, the streets narrow, we enter the village of Verdun, so confidential, and there, Julie spots a small Romanesque church. She points out that it’s a jewel of the Middle Ages, something she picked up in her art history class. We stop at the foot of the church. It’s true that Jason told us about church tours.

It’s already 5 p.m. and we’re back on the corniche road, the twists and turns taking us rapidly up the mountain. I’m blown away by the scenery. I can see in the rearview mirror that the children are happy and rosy-cheeked. I find myself humming on the way back to “our nest”.

Nice and warm

At dusk

Here we are. Our day was simple, but rich and we were together. We met some of the real people who live here, and the children enjoyed themselves. Emma reads Croc-Blanc on her bed, a 1973 edition found on a shelf. Thomas takes a nap. The view from the sofa is enchanting. What a luxury of time! No appointments, no schedule.

On the fir trees, the light snow flies in a silky swirl. Paul snores a little. On my tablet, I’ve found the recipe for these easy-to-make crêpes, which will be perfect with the blueberry jam I bought yesterday at the local produce store, Saveurs de Moun Païs.

Emma-la-curieuse opened the wooden chest in the living room and found a gold mine of board games. I put back a log, the fireplace crackles and the magical winter gradually descends on our little house in the mountains.

Ariège's little extras
The Ariege Pyrenees, your oxygen bubble!

Looking for unspoilt nature, the great outdoors and white water?
In winter, ski, snowboard, skating, snowshoeing, sledging, dog sledding, at Ax 3 Domaines, Beille, Ascou and le Chioula, Mijanés and Goulier...

In summer, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding or canyoning...

And all year round, enjoy the benefits of the thermal waters at Ax-les-Thermes, Ussat-les-Bains or the Bains du Couloubret.
And don't miss the Grotte de Niaux and the Parc de la Préhistoire.

Not forgetting the history of our mountains and their heritage, pastoralism and local produce!

Book your next mountain vacation!