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Foix is a French town and commune. Once the former capital of the County of Foix, today it is the Préfecture or administrative centre of the Ariège department in southwestern France. It is located in the Midi-Pyrénées region, lying south of Toulouse, close to the border with Spain and Andorra.

The Romans built a fort on the rocky hill where the Château de Foix now overlooks the town, which stands at the confluence of the Ariège and Arget rivers. 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 founding of the abbey in 849 in effect led to the development of the town around it in the tenth to twelfth centuries. 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.

In 1536 began the first Reformation preaching in Foix, and in 1579 the Catholic 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.

Gaston Phoebus was the last Count of Foix to have lived in the castle; by the sixteenth century the castle had lost its military purpose. It was subsequently used as a prison until 1864.

(Source: Wikipedea)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9745 W: 63 N: 27417] (120841)
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