About the local area
The area is glorious in the summer with wonderfully warm temperatures, but without the intense heat that can be experienced further down in St Girons. The altitude makes for slightly lower, more bearable temperatures in the height of summer and the nights are cool. The winter months can be very cold and snowy, especially in January and February. However, on sunny winter days it is quite possible to sit comfortably outdoors. 4 x 4 vehicles and winter tyres and/or snow chains may be necessary in the winter months.
This part of the Ariège, the Couserans, is popular with walkers and cyclists (the Tour de France passes nearby more often than not!), and enjoys good summer temperatures. In the winter, skiing is available at resorts an hour or so drive away, including Ax-Les-Thermes and Guzet-Neige. A slightly longer journey will take you to the higher ski areas of Andorra. Nordic skiing and snow shoe (raquette) walking can be enjoyed a mere fifteen minutes drive away at the Etang de Lers.
The village of Massat itself has all the essential amenities and during your stay you would need to go no further for provisions and services. We have a post office, épicerie, mini-supermarket, off licence, whole food store, pharmacy and more. There is also a Tourist Office.
Maxil's bar has a good restaurant with several fixed price menus and an à la carte menu. Le Hostellerie des Trois Seigneurs hotel (open from the beginning of April to the end of October) also has a restaurant, with a varied menu for those with a good appetite. On the market square there is also The Globe Bar.
A pleasant walk takes you from Tapovan to Massat village within 40 minutes.
Thirty to forty minutes drive brings you to St Girons with a choice of larger supermarkets and a good selection of individual stores and a colourful Saturday market.
Apart from the wonderful opportunities for walking (including access to the GR10, trans Pyrenean path) and cycling, the area and nearby environs have plenty of interest.
- St Girons
- St Lizier
- Ax les Thermes (skiing, thermal baths)
- Route des Cathars
- Grotte de Niaux
- Rivère Souterraine de Labouiche
- Mas d'Azil
- Parc National des Pyrénées
Further afield, Toulouse is a lively and enjoyable place to visit , packed with museums and galleries and with good shopping facilities. Carcassonne is a great place for a day trip with the magical, Cité (a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997) as well as the ville basse, the medieval lower town, which has its own separate appeal enhanced by the Canal du Midi.Lourdes is about two hours drive away with its famous Grotte de Massabielle and basilique, an attraction for tens of thousands of pilgrims each year.
Here are some links with information about the surrounding area that we have found useful in the past: