It is also a region of caverns, stretching many miles underground to vast depths. Wall paintings from 20,000 years ago, sited well over half a mile inside, prove that these underground sites have been in use almost as long as the region has had a human population.
Grottes de Niaux
This is the region where my hero and his younger brothers and sisters grew up, with the mountain peaks all around, rushing rivers, mysterious caverns, the fiercely hot, sulphurous waters of the spa at Ax-les-Thermes, the feudal lords of Foix and Aragon dividing or uniting loyalties and politics, and the smugglers' routes criss-crossing the whole area. Plenty of scope for adventures.
Plateau de Beille
Add to this that they live in the opulent chateau visited by all the notable thinkers and artists of the 18th Century. Material here for a second story....
Small wonder that we enjoyed our research. We plan a second visit to investigate the 'Route des Contrebandiers'.