At 3.5 km from the city of Ax-les-Thermes there is a small lake (lac de Campauleil) or, as it is also called, Lake d’Orgeix, with a small dam on the River d’Orgeix (height 814 m above level).

Ax-les-Thermes is a city in the south of France (Occitania, Ariège department, French Pyrenees), located at an altitude of 720-740 m above sea level.

The Orgeix castle was built here (château d’Orgeix) in around 1820. It belonged to a family of marquis by the name of Thonel d’Orgeix, who owned the lands around Ax. According to a legend, the head of the family, Jean-François Joseph de Thonel d’Orgeix received the title of Marquis in 1817. After that, the construction of the castle began, which was carried out in several stages on the site of an old forge (it was owned by the ancestors of the Tonel de Orgeix family). There are 40 rooms in the castle, and balls and masquerades were often held there.

The only heir to the castle, the last (fifth) Marquis Jean de Orgeix, was a passionate man and a great adventurer. He won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in London in 1948, was known in French cinema under the pseudonym Jean Pâqui, as well as the pilot who drove vintage cars. In 2006, at the age of 85, he died in a car accident. Soon after, the castle became the property of the state.

In 2013, the French national energy company EDF began to build a dam on the lake. Because of this, the lake, in which trout and perch were once found, was drained and fishing stopped.

How to get to?

From Paris: 8 hr 11 min (808 km) via A20

From Toulouse: 1 hr 41 min (133 km) via A66 and N20

From Andorra: 1 hr 9 min (58.1 km) via CG-2 and N20

From Barcelona: 2 hr 43 min (201 km) via C-16

From Madrid: 7 hr 48 min (714 km) via A-2

From Monaco: 6 hr 29 min (622 km) via A8

From Moscow: 38 hr (3,547 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 19 hr 57 min (1,925 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 31 hr (2,875 km) via E70

From Bern: 9 hr 16 min (880 km) via A9

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

Read more: Castles and fortresses of Spain and France with Mathew Kristes ...