Located in the the Couserans valley, the pretty village of St Lizier sits on a hill over the Salat River. Near St Girons, in the department of Ariège, this ancient village was once Roman, and an important religious centre in the region.
The town is divided in two; the lower part, with the old village and the Cathedral of Saint-Lizier (below), and the upper part with ancient fortifications which houses the Bishop’s Palace (above).
Classed as one of the ‘most beautiful villages of France’ in an official national classification, but also in my humble opinion, it is just what one hopes to see while driving around the foothills of the Pyrenees in Ariège.
The main attraction of the village is the Cathedral of St Lizier, with its octagonal tower and 11th century frescoes.
The Bishops Palace in Saint-Lizier is now the Ariège departmental museum, housing archeological artefacts and paintings as well as temporary art exhibitions. There are lovely views across the Pyrenees in all seasons.
The iconic Lake Bethmale is an unusually clear and pretty nature spot where you can fish or stroll around, mesmerised by its beauty. Personally, I was surprised how small the lake is. Bijou is definitely the word for this emerald gem.
lac de Bethmale
There is a little something for everyone here in this valley; lakes, hiking trails, horseback riding, gastronomy, music and the lovely Ars waterfall. It is the perfect spot for a little r&r, and just a short and easy drive from Toulouse. Ariège is known for serving organic produce and eco friendly living. Ariège is home to a few ski resorts, notably Guzet-Neige and Ax 3 Domaines. Nordic skiing is huge here as well, especially at le Plateau de Beille.
We visited St Lizier this summer. I misplaced these photos some time ago and have only just found them and decided to share. I can’t wait to go back and see the Couserans valley, powdered with snow❄️.
I hope you have enjoyed this short photo essay about St Lizier. With one week left before the official school holiday season, I am rushing to get back to the slopes before the crowds arrive and the snow melts. Follow me to keep up with me on my travels around beautiful Occitanie. A bientôt………………………………Christina
I love small European villages like this! Thanks for the smiles.
Thanks for reading Frank. St Lizier is truly a gem.