Travel Guide - Holidays & Tourism in the Ariège

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Saint-Lizier - Tourism in the Ariège

As an ancient episcopal see, the medieval town of Saint-Lizier, one of France's "Most Beautiful Villages", has preserved an important religious heritage from its rich past. Dominated by a Toulouse Gothic-style octagonal belfry, Saint-Lizier cathedral, built from the 11th to 15th centuries, contains a beautiful collection of Romanesque frescoes in the apse and north absidiole, including Christ in Majesty and an illustration of Heavenly Jerusalem. Also not to be missed are the cathedral's superb Romanesque cloisters with carved capitals, and the Le Couserans bishops' treasure house for its gold- and silverware, such as the silver reliquary bust of St Lizier. Not far from the cathedral is the old hospital (Hôtel-Dieu), home to a 13th-century dispensary with a fine collection of earthenware pots.

No visit to Saint-Lizier would be complete without a wander through its narrow cobbled streets lined with old houses, right up to the 17th-century former bishop's palace (Palais des Évêques), which today houses a museum of popular arts and traditions.

Saint-Lizier festival, which takes place every first fortnight in August, is a renowned classical music event.

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