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What other people think about us
French Foothills: our walking site and blog
10 things to love about the Ariège
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This photoblog of the Ariège
The main tourism site site of Ariège-Pyrénées
The official site of the Ariège Parc Naturel
More English language information about the Ariège
Our favourite journey planner
AND OVER IN THE MEDITERRANEAN PYRENEES ...
Maison Grillou now has a little Mediterranean sister, Maison Leela: an old stone terraced cottage in the French Catalan village of Villelongue-dels-Monts, at the foot of the Albères mountains - 15 minutes from the sea, and the same from Spain and Ceret. Leela is primarily our own Mediterranean retreat - but far too lovely to keep all to ourselves, so we open her up to other guests for just a few weeks each year.
Combine with Maison Grillou to create a two-centre Pyrenean holiday, or just take a week or two to discover this fabulous part of France. More >>
HOW TO GET TO THE ARIEGE PYRENEES
It's very simple. (But don't tell anyone).
GETTING HERE BY AIR
In spite of our very rural location it's actually pretty easy to get here as we're particularly well connected to many other parts of Europe by air. We’re an hour and a half from both Toulouse (Blagnac) and Carcassonne airports, an hour and forty minutes from Tarbes-Lourdes and three hours from Perpignan.
To Toulouse: two or three Easyjet flights every day from London Gatwick, daily Ryanair flights from London Stansted, and two or three British Airways flights from London Heathrow; all operate all year round. Also: other flights from Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Shannon (seasonal), plus Amsterdam, Brussels, several German cities and other European destinations. There are direct flights from Toronto as well as connecting flights from other long haul destinations from Paris (over 30 flights a day).
To Carcassonne: flights from London, Manchester, East Midlands, Glasgow, Dublin, Cork, Brussels.
To Tarbes/Lourdes: flights from London Stansted and some charter flights from other destinations.
To Perpignan: regular flights from London Stansted, plus other flights from Birmingham, Southampton, Dublin and Brussels.
GETTING HERE BY ROAD
It’s possible - just - to drive here from Calais, Boulogne or one of the Normandy ports in one day; it will take around 12 hours, on good roads, allowing for stops. It can be a tiring experience though, and we think an overnight stop makes it into a very much more enjoyable journey. Rather than circuit Paris, we’d advise heading for Rouen, then Chartres, Limoges, Brive, and on to Toulouse. Much of it will be on the non-toll A20 motorway, and will take you through beautiful scenery. We recommend this site for good route and time planning.
HOW TO GET TO MAISON GRILLOU
We’re three kilometres outside the village of Rimont, in the French department of Ariège-Pyrénées (09), between the towns of Foix and St Girons. Grillou is marked on the larger scale IGN maps and can be located on GPS as ‘09420 Grillou’. A car is absolutely essential both to reach us, and during your stay here (there's no public transport); as many of the roads in the Ariège are on the narrow side, we recommend that you choose a smaller car if you're hiring.
We'll send you detailed directions before you travel, but if you want to look us up, our coordinates are 43.01344N, 1.28577E (in degrees: 43° 0' 48.37'', 1° 17' 8.79'').
GETTING HERE BY TRAIN
Although our nearest train station is just 30 minutes away at Foix, we recommend travelling to Toulouse where you can collect your hire car right by the station. The car hire agencies in Foix are quite a schlep from the station and as it's little more than a glorified halt there aren't always taxis available.
There are daily sleeper trains from Paris Austerlitz direct to Toulouse, leaving at around 22h00 and 23h00, and arriving at 06h00 and 07h00 (and back, at approximately the same times). If you live within easy reach of Eurostar this is a great way to travel as you can easily spend the best part of a day in Paris on both outward and return trips ... without spending a centime extra! Bookings open three months before travel and there are real bargains to be had if you book early.
Otherwise, travel by Eurostar to Lille or Paris, then onwards by TGV to Toulouse. Again, book as soon as reservations open (90 days in advance) to get the best prices; look for 'Prems' tickets, from around 35 euros each way.