Follow in the wet footprints of the Romans and bathe in a pond filled with warm, sulfurous water from hot springs in this quaint town.
Ax-les-Thermes is a small mountain town in the French Pyrenees with stunning rural views. Many of its attractions are centered on the hot springs with therapeutic waters that have lured people to the area for centuries. Explore nearby ski resorts and discover the beautiful alpine scenery and serene atmosphere of the Ax Valley.
Find spa facilities and natural baths dotted around the town. The natural hot springs here have been popular since the Middle Ages and are thought to have been used since as far back as Roman times.
Soak your feet in the Bassin des Ladres (Lepers’ Pond) in the town’s main square. The pool is filled with naturally warm water, which comes from the underground mountain springs.
The ski resort of Bonascre, part of the Ax 3 Domaines ski region, lies southwest of the commune. Zoom down ski slopes of varying difficulty.
Stroll through the pleasant town and enjoy its old-world ambiance. The village also features an ice rink and a casino, as well as various bars, restaurants and cafés. Try local cuisine, which blends Spanish and French styles in hearty dishes of chicken, duck and goose.
Visit the region on St. John’s Day, when the locals, who are known in France as Axéens, bathe in the Bassin des Ladres after being daubed with ashes as part of a celebration ritual. The Tour de France regularly passes through the surrounding region, drawing sports fans from all over.
The commune is in the Ariège department of the Midi-Pyrénées in the southwest of France, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of the border with Andorra. Take a flight to Perpignan Airport, which is just over 2 hours east of the town by car. Come during summer for sun and outdoor fun or arrange a trip for winter, when heavy snowfall turns the peaks white.
Thermal spas and gorgeous mountain scenery await in Ax-les-Thermes.