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Everything you need to know about the legendary French cheese, Brie

Everything you need to know about the legendary French cheese, Brie
Among all the variety of dairy products cheeses are very popular: they are nutritious, good on the holiday table and for our daily diet. Cheese recipes are varied, as cheese is present in most cuisines of the world, and each nation develops its own cooking options using this product.
Brie cheese is the gastronomic pride of France. This is what my blog post is about today.
Some love it, others are confused by the presence of mold. Domestic manufacturers master the secrets of brie production quite successfully. To part with doubts about this product, you need to get to know it better.
General information:
Brie – a variety of soft cheese covered with white mold, originally from France. Brie – the name of the French region near Paris, where for the first time the production of this delicacy began.
Traditionally, the head of brie cheese is a circle with a diameter of up to 60cm and a height of up to 5 cm. Today, manufacturers also produce brie batch weights of 120, 125, and 150g.
The surface of a high-quality cheese is evenly covered with snow-white mold. It has a velvety, tender to the touch texture. On the surface, there may be yellow or reddish streaks.
Under the mold layer, there is a creamy milky mass with a white or yellowish tint, which seems to be liquid towards the center of the head but does not spread. The internal consistency of the cheese changes as it ripens: from elastic and hard to soft.
Flavor characteristics:
Cheese is a living product and its taste changes as it matures. Keep in mind that the shelf life of French cheese is about 30-35 days.
The taste of a young batch (up to 10 days matured) is gentle, salty milk, not sharp. Starting acquaintance with a French delicacy is best with a young cheese.
More mature products acquire a sharp, bitter taste, which is often called ammonia. The lower the cheese head, the sharper it is. Over-grown brie has a poisonous ammonia smell and is not to be consumed.
Nutritional properties of cheese (per 100 g of product):
Calorie content – from 290 to 350 Kcal.
Fat –28
Carbohydrates – 0.5 g.
Composition and production technology:
For the preparation of brie, cow’s milk, salt, rennet milk-clotting enzyme, and mold bacteria are used. The classic formula uses fresh milk, but modern manufacturers often use pasteurized milk for safety.
Brie preparation steps:
1. Milk is heated to 38°C, after which a clotting enzyme is added.
2. Wait about 2 hours. An important secret of mastery: high-quality serum removal.
3. The heads of the cheese are left to ripen for 7 days, during which they are methodically turned over.
4. After a week, the cheese is covered with bacterial spores. They grow and form a layer of velvety mold, which is responsible for the unique taste and nutritional benefits of brie.
5. Maturation lasts for 30 days, during which the texture and taste change.
Making brie does not depend on the season and is carried out manually.
History of this delicacy:
Brie is one of the oldest varieties of cheese. There is a version of the origin of the delicious French cheese with mold.
The milk of French breeds of cows has traditionally been distinguished by high quality and fat content, to a large extent contributed to the very favorable climatic conditions of the country. Peasants traded in fresh produce, while products from it were considered secondary and were used by the common people for food.
When the technologies for the production of butter and cheese remained at the initial stage of development, both products hardly differed from each other and periodically molded. Over time, the side effects of milk production were not only accustomed to but also appreciated the taste and benefits of mold. The solution of mold fungi began to be applied to the cheese blanks purposefully.
Some historical facts:
In 744 we find the first written mention of the delicacy.
In the late 8th century – cheese is delivered to the court of Emperor Charlemagne. Brie is a luxury product for the highest strata of French society.
1791 – In the midst of the Great French Revolution, the overthrown King Louis XVI tries to flee the country. Unable to resist the strong temptation to eat brie cheese, he stops in Varenna near the town of Mo – the center of production of the best cheese. In passing, the hated monarch was spotted and Louis appeared before the court of revolution and was soon executed.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 5 дек 18, 19:03
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Port Leucate

Mediterranean resorts of France (amethyst coast): Port Leucate – the cheapest oysters in France and the center of European land windsurfing
Leucate (fr. Leucate) – a commune in France, which belongs to the region Languedoc-Roussillon. Department of the Commune – Aude. Included in the canton Les Corbières Méditerranée. District of the commune – the city of Narbonne. The population of Leucate in 2017 was 3,954 people.
This seaside resort is located on the coastal strip separating Leucate pond from the golfe du Lion Bay, in the immediate vicinity of the marine Corbières (les Corbières maritimes), which are located in the east and differ from the rest of the Corbières by having a mild climate and plenty of thermal Mediterranean vegetation.
The port of Leucate can be reached via the D83 south of Barcares (Barcarès) or via the D627 from the village of Leucate (Leucate) to the north.
The creation of the port of Leucate is the result of the development of the coastal region of Languedoc-Roussillon. The chief architect of the city is Georges Candilis. The port is part of the tourist site of Lacattes-le Barcares (or Port Leucate-Port Barcarès), built as part of the Racine1 mission.
France’s interministerial mission for the development of tourism on the coast of Languedoc-Roussillon, also known as the Racine mission, is in honor of Pierre Racine, its leader. The mission was established on June 18, 1963 by the state to carry out major infrastructural work to develop the Mediterranean coast in the departments of Gard, l’Hérault, l’Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales — in other words, along the amethyst coast (côte d’Améthyste).
The mission involved the development of the city and its transformation. Lawns, lighted fountains, palm trees, walking and cycling paths appeared.
Port Leucate is the old part of the resort area, which began to attract tourists even before the First World War at the beginning of the 20th century.
The port itself is located south of Corrège Island on the northern border of Port Barcares. Island Korrezh or the island of birds – covers about 150 hectares of land. It is connected to the land by two bridges on the D627 – in one direction the road leads to the water park, and in the other to the city of Leucate.
In the port of Leucate, 1100 boats can fit in the water and 350 boats on the parking spaces on land. Useful information: the price to park boats ranges from 750 to 6,000 euros per year (depending on the size of the boat).
Tourism is the main activity of the port of Leucate, with more than 60,000 people visiting per year. The types of accommodation offered are mainly campgrounds, hotels and apartments. Part of the resort (5 of 45 hectares) is the nudist village of l’Île de La Corrège. It was created in 1974, as part of the same Racine1 mission. The village has its own pier.
Right on the Mediterranean coast is the resort area of the Rives des Corbières hotel, which is located 150 meters from the beach of Leucate.
Shopping, cuisine and restaurants:
One of the attractions that you must visit is the shellfish port. It is located south of Leucate-Plage and north of the nudist village. Here you can come across the oyster farmers who grow oysters, mussels, clams and even king prawns. On this land, nature has arranged itself so that the most favorable conditions for the growth of oysters were created: a narrow strip of the beach separates the Mediterranean Sea from the freshwater lake. It is this composition of water – a combination of fresh and sea water – that affect the quality of oyster meat.
However, on this farm, oysters do not multiply, they are brought here when small from Kankal. In any case, the prices for oysters here at the local farm are among the lowest in France.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 5 дек 18, 16:21
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Languedoc and Occitania: their history and major tourist attractions

Languedoc and Occitania: their history and major tourist attractions
Languedoc (French version – Languedoc, Occitan version – Lengadòc) is the so-called “historical” region in the south of France. The population of this region traditionally did not speak French, but Occitan. Languedoc is part of Occitania, the center of which, in turn, is the city of Toulouse. The population of Languedoc currently stands at 3.6 million.
The name Languedoc began to be used from the XIII century when, in 1271, the county of Toulouse fell under the French crown’s possession.
Until 1790, Languedoc had the official status of a province. Currently there are two regions on its territory – Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées (departments Aude, Tarn, Herault, Gard, Ardèche, Lozère, Haute-Garonne, Tarn and Garonne, Haute-Loire) . Languedoc occupies an area of about 42.7 thousand square meters, however, there are disagreements regarding the exact borders of the former province.
Today, Languedoc is one of the centers of tourism. It attracts tourists for its mountain peaks, green hills, ancient castles, vineyards and blue lagoons. About 800 years ago, this area was called the land of the Cathars, against which the Vatican declared a crusade. After all, the religious movement of the Cathars was the only opponent of the Catholic Church in Europe at that time.
The history of Languedoc and Occitania
The peculiarities of Languedoc include the fact that its inhabitants managed to preserve their language. In 1539, French became the official language in France. As a result, in all regions of the kingdom, local dialects began to die off. Only the people of Languedoc were able to save their language. Nowadays, about 8 million people speak Occitan. Well, tourists may notice that in Toulouse street names are written in French and Occitan. Therefore, Languedoc is often called the “other” France. After all, the locals consider themselves to be Languedoc, not French.
In these regions, a fairly powerful county of Toulouse existed in the past, which controlled all trade routes in the south of France. The highest flowering of the county fell on the XII century. Interestingly, the inhabitants of the county enjoyed great freedom. In addition, there were many free cities. The capital of the county was a city of Toulouse.
The locals quickly accepted the Cathar religion, which did not frighten them with prospects of going to hell. In addition, the Cathars did not recognize indulgences. They also treated people for free. Therefore, against the background of the heavily wealthy Catholic priests, they looked righteous.
The massive transition of locals to the Cathar religion led to the fact that in 1209 a crusade against Toulouse county was declared. It should be noted that the county repelled the attacks of the Crusaders for as long as 20 years. But in 1229, France seized part of the lands of the county. And in 1271 all the lands of the county were annexed to France. As a result, the county became the French province of Languedoc.
Former Occitania has an original intellectual climate, due to the proximity of Arabic Spain and the movement of the Cathars (Albigensians). It was here that troubadours were born and real knights lived. The Cathars (they are Albigensians) appeared at the beginning of the XI century. They believed that the materialism that conquered the Catholic Church should not flourish. They preached abstinence and asceticism, and were the forerunners of Protestantism. Then, in the XVI-XVII centuries, the Huguenots appeared not somewhere, but again here, in the kingdom of Navarre. In both cases, the heresies enjoyed the support of local authorities, and so Paris and the Vatican reacted harshly.
At the beginning of the XIII century, the Albigensians declared a crusade, conducted with all possible cruelty. Of course, it was not their ideology that was the cause, but the desire to profit from the wealth of the southern lands. The south was well fed, the yard prosperous, and the Albigensians were just an excuse as was the case for King Philip II. Pope Innocent III tried to negotiate with the Cathars, and was sent there as the main negotiator of those times – the Spaniard Guzman. But he could not do anything as Toulouse just laughed at him. Earl Raymond refused to take any measures against the Cathars, as he himself was almost a catarrh. Languedoc just did not want to talk to the Vatican. In 1208, the papal legate was killed in Toulouse, and this caused a crusade.
During the heyday of the county, almost all French musicians and poets lived here. After all, the French kingdom in those years experienced severe economic difficulties. Therefore, in the XII century, Toulouse became the intellectual and creative center of Europe. It regularly held poetry tournaments.
The army of Simon de Montfort passed through Occitania with fire and sword. The war lasted for more than thirty years, and the Cathars eventually fell. An indicative moment is that after the defeat of the Cathars in the middle of the 13th century, the surviving heretics moved into the Templar Order, which, in turn, was also defeated by the French king at the beginning of the 14th century. Isolated communities of the Cathars continued to exist for almost 100 years, but they lost their influence. The last known Qatar to the world was burned in 1321. The Huguenot movement also relied on the south.
In the XVI-XVIII centuries, many communes lived here independently and following their own laws. But they failed to resist the power of the absolutism of Louis XIV. This was the second global subordination of the south to the north and the final formation of a united France. Occitania remained only in the legends. Now Occitania under the name of the region of the South – the Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillon – is developing quite dynamically, relying on high-tech production. In many of its corners, however, typical medieval coziness and ecological cleanliness have been preserved.
Tourism in the Languedoc and what to see
This is a region of intellectual and rather individual tourism. It is recommended for people who love rustic tranquility, visiting castles and walking in the mountains.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 18:25
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Mediterranean resorts of France: Collioure – a place of inspiration for Picasso, Matisse, Dali

Mediterranean resorts of France: Collioure (fr. Collioure)
Collioure is an old fishing town in France, which has long been famous for its anchovies. It is an ideal holiday destination for tourists who are tired of the mad rhythm of excursions and a large crowd of people. The population is only about 3,000 inhabitants. The resort is located on the Mediterranean coast Vermilion (Vermilion). The cities of France, Collioure and Perpignan, are called the pearls of the French Purple (or Scarlet) coast. They are rightly recognized as the most picturesque towns of the south of France.
Collioure attracts visitors with its clean beaches, quiet coves, sunny weather and the green hills of the Pyrenees. A walk along the embankment contains beautiful views or through the picturesque narrow paved streets will allow you to fully experience the medieval atmosphere of the city. Collioure is also called the city of artists. Many artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Derain found inspiration for their work here.
Architecture, Collioure sights, what to see?
The embankment of the city is a great place to walk with small cozy restaurants and cafes alongside, souvenir shops and beautiful views. It is a favorite meeting place for the local youths.
Notre-Dame des Anges is the calling card of the city, thanks to the works of Matisse. This church became famous throughout the world. It has been preserved in excellent condition to the present day. This building, which was built in 1691, is one of the symbols of Collioure. The church is located in the sea harbor of Collioure. Initially (the end of the XVII century) it worked as a lighthouse, but later on the order of Marshal of France Vauban, this function was abolished.
The Royal Castle of the Templars is a powerful naval complex with a whole system of underground communications, which are still used by the French military today (it’s still used or not?). Now there is also a museum. Erected in the VII century, the citadel served as the city’s defense mechanism and its suburbs for many centuries, so it was constantly improved and strengthened, until the XVII century.
The “colored streets” is an area with narrow, labyrinth-like lanes and ancient stairs. The atmosphere here is always joyful and warm. Balconies are decorated with a huge number of multi-colored flowerpots, and the facades are covered with grapes and ivy.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 18:21
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Best Mediterranean resorts: France and Spain

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 18:18
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Font-Romeu is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the Eastern Pyrenees (Pyrénées-Orientales) on the Cerdagne plateau, 40 km from Andorra, 87 km from Perpignan (France) and 170 km from Barcelona (Spain, Catalonia). The city is “the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees” with panoramic views, clean air, and bright light. It is located at an altitude of 1800 m above sea level.
The city has about 6,500 inhabitants, with about 2,050 of those being permanent residents.
Font-Romeu is well-known for its high reputation in the world of sports and tourism since it was here in the early 20 s and was one of the first ski resorts in France.
Font Romeu is known as “the land of champions”. The city is famous for the fact that outstanding athletes lived and trained here: Martin Fourcade, a French biathlete who won four Olympic medals (two gold and two silver), 10 world champion titles, 10 crystal globes and 63 individual victories; Kilian Jornet, who is known as a “heaven rider”, a professional mountaineer and athlete, a long distance runner who made history thanks to the fastest ascent and descent of the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali, and Everest; the famous French swimmer Camille Lacourt, French athlete Colette Besson.
In 1920-1930, Font-Romeu was called the “Winter Sports Palace”, where the world elite loved to come, as it was here that one of the first and most prestigious ski resorts in France appeared. At present, it has 103 km of cross-country skiing tracks (22 runs: 7 “green”, 10 “blue” and 5 “red”), 41 downhill ski slopes (15 “green”, 10 “blue “, 7” red “and 9” black “). It is about 50 km in total. The slopes are maintained by 500 snow cannons, and the resort has one snow park and four ski schools. The resort also has three separate slopes for slalom skiers and a stadium for biathlon. The resort also provides the opportunity to go night skiing – both for amateurs and for competitors with the participation of, as a rule, the Northern European countries.
By looking at the number of ski passes that were sold, we can see, as I said, during last year’s 2016-2017 season almost 700 thousand tourists visited. In general, in winter and summer, the city recorded up to 1 million people who spent at least one night here.
The Town Hall of Font-Romeu is one of the oldest buildings that has recently been completely renovated. Mayor of the city – a former journalist, politician Jean-Louis Demelin.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 17:57
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Dorres Roman SPA Baths (Les Bains de Dorres), Cerdanya plateau, Pyrenees, France

Dorres Roman SPA Baths (Les Bains de Dorres), Cerdanya plateau, Pyrenees, France
The Dorres Roman baths (Les Bains de Dorres) are located on the site of a hot spring (40 ° Celsius), which flows from the foot of the Dorres village. The picturesque village is located in the French Pyrenees at an altitude of 1450 m, on the Cerdanya plateau. This is a historic area in the Pyrenees on the border of Spain and France. In addition to alpine skiing, Cerdanya is interesting for its history, ancient small towns, landscapes and historical and geographical casus in the form of a Spanish enclave on French territory.
The plateau borders the Puigmal ridge (2,910 m high) in the south, and in the north with the Carlit ridge (2,921 m high). To the East of Cerdanya, through a valley called Tet (Têt) it borders the Mediterranean Sea. In the west – through the Segre Valley (Sègre), the plateau borders the Spanish city of La Seu D’Urgell and Andorra.
Cerdanya has a special microclimate – it experiences many sunny days at any time of the year and especially dry air. Therefore, patients with asthma, people suffering from respiratory diseases, as well as those who wish to undergo heliotherapy and who are shown treatment with thermal waters come here for rehabilitation.
The existence of baths has been proven since Roman times, as evidenced by the ancient ruins near the source. The village of Dorres is also known for the development of granite. In 1841, the first wash bowl was cut out of granite, which was used for bathing. Previously, hot sulfur water was also used to wash sheep’s wool.
It is known that during the war of 1939-1945, French resistance troops were stationed in the village.
After the war, for a long time, the baths were freely available. Only in 1991, new granite baths and a wash basin were built, and the space was fenced off.
Today the local municipality manages the SPA baths.
Thermal springs are rich in hydrogen sulfide and minerals. Their temperature is from 37 ° C to 40 ° C, and it does not change during the year.
Source water analysis conducted by Madame Lucette Martinaggi-Germa in her book “Dorres, Granite et Eau”, issue 2007.
Hydrogen sulfide 1.38.10-4 mol / l
Chlorine 17.50.10-4 mol / l
Sodium 16.90.10-4 mol / liter
Potassium 0,29,10-4 mol / l
Calcium 0,92,10-4 mol / l
Lithium 0.05,10-4 mol / l
Hydrogen nitrogen 1,54,10-4 mol / l
Tin 1,10,10-6 mol / l
Arsenic 5.80.10-7 mol / l
Rubidium 1.30.10-7 mol / l
Tungsten 1,90,10-7 mol / l
Kazium 5,00,10-8 mol / l
Iron 6,50,10-8 mol / l
Magnesium 6,50,10-8 mol / l
Strontium 8,60,10-8 mol / l
Chrome 5.80.10-9 mol / liter
Zinc 8.50.10-9 mol / liter
Antimony 7.80.10-10 mol / liter
Silver 2,30,10-10 mol / l
Cobalt 1,90,10-10 mol / l
Manganese 1.40.10-11 mol / liter
Scandium 8.10.10-12 mol / liter
Consumption: 5 liters / s.
Dorres Roman SPA baths – a skiers’ favorite place to come after skiing to relax and rest.
Opening hours: daily from 9:00 to 19:30.
From mid-November to early December, the baths are closed for a maintenance to be carried out.
The price as of 01/01/2018 is € 5.
Here you can have a wellness massage (Californian massage, shiatsu and Korean relaxing massage) outdoors – in the sundial.
What to do in the area
The Roman baths of Dorres and the baths of Llo (30 minutes by D618, D30, N116, D33) are a great addition for hiking lovers, mountain bike lovers and cyclists: here you can find a huge selection of routes.
The mountain lakes in the Carlit massif is a great place for fishing.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 17:56
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Miglos castle (Château de Miglos) in French Ariege became one of the strongholds of the Roman Church during the war with the Cathars

On a hill 750 meters high, inaccessible from all sides except the south towards the village of Arkizat, there are the impressive ruins of the medieval castle of Château de Miglos guarding the valley of Vicdessos (vallée de Vicdessos) and protecting access to the valley of Miglos.
Today Vicdessos is a small village with 620 inhabitants that lies between 600 and 1500 meters and covers almost 600 hectares in the Regional Natural Park of the Pyrenees.
The first mention of the castle was made in 1159. Later, the castle, which belonged to the family of Miglos, became one of the strongholds of the Roman Church during the war with the Cathars. The main function of the castle is to protect the neighborhood of Foix (together with le château de Montréal de Sos, Olbier). Among the “allies” of the castle of Miglos on the side of Tarascon were also the Castles Quie and Genat (les châteaux de Quié et Génat).
For some reason (perhaps due to belonging to the Qatari heresy), the Miglos family lost the castle to the Ussons’ family. Then the castle changed ownership several times over several centuries. It belonged consistently to the families of Rabat, Arnave, Léon, Louvie, Béon, Goth, Montaut.
In 1789, Jean-Louis de Montaut became Baron Miglos.
Presumably in late August 1792, the castle was burned after the events caused by the French Revolution. The baron’s family left the castle in ruins and settled in a large house located next to the village d’Arquizat, which later became a farm.
The area on which the castle was built is about 100 meters long and 30 meters wide. The main building material of the castle, as well as all the buildings of the Middle Ages, was limestone.
Recent research, however, identified another building material – fish bones.
In 1987, “The Association of friends of the castle Miglos” was created. In 1991, the works for its restoration began. Currently, the castle is an object that is protected under the “Historical Monuments”.
Every year in September, the castle participates in the “Heritage Days”. This year there was a presentation of the film “Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of the Miglos Castle,” in which layouts, topographic surveys, ancient engravings and 3D modeling were used.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 17:55
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The castle of Lordat

The castle of Lordat (le château de Lordat), located in the municipality of Lordat (Ariège department) is one of the oldest and largest feudal castles in the county of Foix. This is a classic example of Pyrenean medieval military architecture.
At the foot of the castle lies the village of Lordat (altitude about 900 m above sea level) – it borders the canton (administrative-territorial unit in the district, covering several communes) Les Cabannes.
The number of inhabitants of the village in 2017 was 45 people. There are 17 residential houses, 28 residences and the complete absence of abandoned or empty houses in the village.
The castle is one of the most interesting places in Ariège due to its strategic location and width of the walls. The northern wall is a continuation of the cliff, at a height of 50 m. The walls of the main four-story tower are the thickest compared to the other walls of the castle.
The construction of the castle probably dates from the 9th-10th centuries. The first mention of the castle was made in 1034 – when Bernard, Count of Carcassonne, presented it to his son Roger, the first Count of Foix. Initially, the county of Foix was a senoria (a collection of land plots with land ownership, collection of duties, and tax payments) in the county of Carcassonne.
Roger died childless around 1064, after which the castle passed to the third of his brother’s sons, Bernard I Roger, Pierre Bernard.
It is known that in 1244 the castle was captured by the Cathars during the Crusade. At the end of the XIII century, the castle passed into the hands of the King of Aragon, who demanded its destruction. The castle fell into ruins, but the entrance, protected by a tower, retained its original appearance.
On September 8, 1923, the castle was included in the list of historical monuments of France.
After a long renovation, on June 4, 2016, the castle was opened to the public.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 17:54
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The city of Ax-les-Thermes

Ax-les-Thermes is a city in the south of France (Ariege department, French Pyrenees), located at an altitude of 720-740 m above sea level. The population of the city in 2015 was 1,230 people.
The city is located at the intersection of three valleys – La vallée de la Lauze, l’Oriège and l’Ariège. This location makes it ideal for hiking – both in winter and summer.
At 3.5 km from the city 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). The Orgeix castle was built here (château d’Orgeix). 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 Orzhey 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 Orzhey, 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.
However, it is worth returning back to the city of Ax-les-Thermes. In the 1900s, in connection with the construction of the railway, this city became a real tourist destination. Why? There are several reasons for this.
Sights and what to see
In 1956, a ski resort was opened here covering about 75 km of slopes (red and mostly black). There are three ski areas in Ax: the first mainly contains beginners slopes, the second is the zone for children (at the very bottom and at the very top). And, finally, a zone for free-riders.
The lifts in Ax-les-Thermes operate all year round and allow you to do mountain biking in spring, summer and autumn. In addition, for hikers and lovers of hiking, new mountain routes opened in 2017.
For lovers of summer sports: near the city center there are several tennis courts and mini golf centres.
However, the main attraction of the city is its hot springs; the hottest spa in the Pyrenees. The temperature of the sources reach 76-78 degrees Celsius. They are rich in silicon dioxide, sodium and especially hydrogen sulfide. Sulfur produces a peculiar and distinctive odor.
The natural temperature is a very important characteristic in terms of anti-bactericidal properties. This water can burn. The water is absolutely natural, therefore it is 100% curative. It is recommended for patients with sciatica, rheumatism and some respiratory tract infections. It has zero bacteria. And the composition of the water has not changed for many centuries.
According to the established tradition, every year on the day of San Joan (the celebration of the summer solstice), tourists come to Ax-les-Thermes to take a hydrogen sulfide bath amid burning torches.
These natural water sources were known about even in Gallo-Roman times. The King of Louis IX during the Crusade decided to create a hospital here to treat lepers disease. In 1260, with the blessing of Louis IX, Roger IV de Foix, count of Foix, built the Ladrov pool (Bassin des Ladres) near the hospital of Saint Louis for this purpose.
Until the mid-18th century, Ax-les-Thermes’ spa or Barry des Bains was concentrated around Bassin des Ladres. It was located next to the hospital and the adjoining chapel called “Notre Dame du Bain” (Notre Dame du Bain).
For centuries, thermal water was widely used for scalding pigs, preparing hot dishes, and even brewing coffee (when boiled, the unpleasant smell of the water disappears).
Natural parks
Next to Ax-les-Thermes is the 708.32 hectare state forest park. This is a natural area of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest (Zone naturelle d’intérêt écologique, faunistique et floristique, ZNIEFF). You can spot wild boars, marmots and martens, the bearded man (a bird from the family of hawks), wood grouse and black woodpeckers.
Less than 10 km from Ax-les-Thermes is the national park of Orlu, which covers an area of 4000 hectares. The wood-grouse, the golden eagle and the gray partridge are found here.
Architecture and city attractions
The highlight of Ax-les-Thermes is the presence of fountains with thermal water – for example, the Fontaine des Neiges, Coustou, Couzillou, Canon, and the pool Le Bassin de L’Axéenne. In essence, these are big foot baths. They opened in 2016 at Place Saint-Jérôme, next to the Saint-Jérôme d’Ax-les-Thermes church and face the main shopping street and are intended for the general public.
A few words about the church. The first stone was laid on April 24, 1607 – in the year of the foundation of the brotherhood of the blue penitent sinners. The brotherhood of repentant sinners arose in Genoa in the fourteenth century. A century later, they appeared in the cities of Provence. Brotherhoods united Catholic parishioners, who differed in the color of their robes, depending on their responsibilities. The clothes were a robe with a hood and a belt. White clothes were worn by those who cared for the sick, black ones by those who were engaged in burial, the red ones were worn by those who looked after orphans, and blue ones by those who welcomed travelers, prisoners and tried to free slaves.
The church of Saint-Jérôme was built in a part of the city, destroyed by a violent fire in 1586. The construction was funded by donations. It was consecrated on the day of St. Vincent, the patron saint of the city, on January 22, 1608. In 1705, 1831, 1906 and 1907, the building was renovated and has a rectangular shape. Since 1990, the chapel serves as a venue for exhibitions.

chernowa155 Чернова Лиза 1 дек 18, 17:53
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