The cities of Toulouse, Carcassonne and the principality of Andorra form a triangle in which Ariège nestles. From those three places the beauty of the Ariège Pyrenees is easily reached. 

GPS Warning: If your final destination is a small mountain village, don't place complete trust in your automatic navigation system which might direct you over a mountain pass closed by snow or over small winding roads when a road that goes around the mountain would be faster. If your hosts have given you specific directions for arriving at their place, follow them.

Barcelona is a popular weekend break destination for Ariège inhabitants because it’s just 4 hours by car from Foix. You can also take an inexpensive Spanish commuter train from the border town of La Tour de Carol in the department of the Pyrenees orientales. A train from Toulouse ends there, stopping at Foix, Tarascon, Ax-les-Thermes, Mérens and other villages.  You get out and cross the tracks to get the Spanish train (the track gauge is different). Then you buy a ticket  on the train from the conductor. 

It’s hard to find information on this train, which offers a very scenic journey through the Pyrenees. The name of the town in Spanish is La Tor de Querol but the main Spanish railway site,, doesn’t list it as a destination or point of departure when you do a search. It’s actually part of the Rodalies de Catalunya commuter train network, route R3. Use this link to get the timetable:

The synchronisation of the French and Spanish connections at La Tour de Carol is poor, so study the timetables carefully (use to find the timetable on the French side). You can also park your car at the station and just take the Spanish train.


Many thanks to these photographers

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