Foix

In 1200 the area controlled by the Comte de Foix extended throughout the whole of Arriage and also to the south covering what is now Andorra. This eastern portion of Foix included both Mirepoix, Montsegur and the Pays du Salt but these were then ripped away and given to Jean de Levis during the Albigensian Crusade.

On this diagram the possessions of the comte de foix are shown in red. the area of english (plantagenet,ramnulfid) is shown by the white outline and Ximene trencavel’s inheritance is shown in blue.

Foix and it’s Château are almost another character in the story.

The view from the battlements towards the Pyrenees is always spectacular, and the eagles still soar above and around the valley.
Today Foix is in the French departement of Ariége in the Region of Occitanie.

The Château’s position on a rock in the middle of the town surrounded by the foothills of the Pyrenees is, to say the least, eye catching. In 1355 there were only two towers. ( the round tower was added later).

The accommodation in the upper fortress was far from luxurious. The great hall was really only an enclosed space over an enormous cistern. The great hall today is well illuminated. In the forground is a model of the northerly tower

The bedrooms directly off the great hall are significantly larger than the bedrooms further up the tower.

The spiral staircases are claustrophobic.

There was other accommodation built around the rock itself, unfortunately, these apartments have been allowed to fall into decay.
Access to these apartments was from the south east but with the decay of the apartments, it has been closed off.

Access to the caves and springs underneath the chateau has also been closed off.

Access to the upper chateau always was and still is from the north.

The ancient town of Foix clusters around the base of the rock.

The chateau dominates the town and is visible from virtually every street

 

The most dangerous woman in the world

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Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355

 

'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. 

He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’