Highly recommended especially for the adventurous and young-at-heart. To get to La Fontane one travels first to Tarascon-sur-Ariège and then to Vicdessos.(about 15 km). From there the road climbs up a steep valley, and after negotiating nine hairpin turns (about 3 km) one arrives at the entrance to La Fontane which is 2 further bends along its own driveway. The house backs into the hill leading up to Orus, but has a spectacular view of the mountains and valley from the front. There are several hikes following isoclines out of Orus, to the east and west. There are many, many more hiking trials out from Vicdessos. One which we especially liked follows D8 up to its termination at Étang de Soulcem (a man made lake just above the tree line) from which there are footpaths to higher lakes close to the borders with Andorra and Spain. We also recommend the drive west along D18 to Étang de Lers and thence to Massat, returning via D618. To access villages even further west for a day trip, we found it best to travel via Tarascon, and then Foix, to Saint Girons on faster roads, and from there to explore the countryside. Near Tarascon there are several well known caves such as those at Niaux, Bedeilac and Lombrives. We were at La Fontane in mid-late October, which meant very few tourists and entire hill-sides were in autumn colours. We also witnessed the moving of cattle from the higher pastures around Orus to the lowlands for winter.
The house was well appointed, totally quiet (save the occasional ringing of the church bell in Orus), and comfortable (although the wooden dining chairs would benefit from cushions). A small convenience store (8 à Huit) in Vicdessos can provide the essentials, but the Intermarché supermarket in Tarascon has a larger selection. Although the house is all electric with electric, thermostatically controlled radiators in each room, the cook top uses gas which was much appreciated. There is a wood-burning fireplace with heat exchangers that can nicely warm the living room and kitchen. Moreover, a plentiful supply of precut wood and kindling was available, which was employed almost every night (not only cozy, but helps minimize electricity consumption).
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