Nestling in the heart of the Pyrenees in the Ariège upper valley at an altitude of 720 metres is the spa resort of Ax-les-Thermes that boasts three water-cure establishments specialising in the treatment of rheumatisms and respiratory problems.
Ax-le-Thermes also has a recreational spa, Les Bains du Couloubret, where relaxation and well-being are on the agenda in a setting reminiscent of Ancient Rome.
A trail through the old town with 14 interpretation panels is a good way to explore Ax-les-Thermes's history and architecture. The tour takes in the Bassin des Ladres, a natural pool of hot sulphurous water, the Thermes (thermal baths), the belle-époque Casino, pretty streets and fountains.
Not to be missed nearby is the scenic Orlu valley with its little villages, Maison des Loups wolf park, and national wildlife reserve (Réserve Nationale de Faune Sauvage), a lovely place to go walking.