Gîte de Figarol is 7km away from the charming spa town of Salies-du-Salat. Salies-du-Salat is a typical French town with banks, butchers and boulangeries - it even boasts a Casino if you fancy a flutter! Market day is every Monday.

The Pyrenean ski resort of Luchon is another famous spa town in the mountains. You might be interested to know that it is twinned with Harrogate in North Yorkshire in the UK.

Lourdes is easily accessible and is only 50 minutes away. It is a major tourist attraction in the area - about 6 million people visit the religious shrine there each year.

Close by, the huge caverns of the Grottes de Betharram (St-Pe-de-Bigorre) can be explored by underground train! There is also Pau, the birthplace of Henry IV, with its magnificent 14th-century château. Pau golf course (built by the British) is the oldest in mainland Europe. While you're in the area, don't forget to try the local sweet Jurançon wine - it's delicious!

The historical hilltop town of St-Bertrand-de-Comminges is 20 minutes away. Its impressive 12th-century cathedral has a magnificent 16th-century carved wood choir - and the acoustics are wonderful, which is probably why the cathedral is the venue for an annual summer music festival.

St-Lizier (20 minutes away) is located in the Ariège. The town dates back to Roman times and has two cathedrals.

The city of Toulouse is 45 minutes away. It is well worth a visit for its regional cuisine, lively street life and 'rose brick' old quarter. Markets are held on Wednesday and Sunday. As France's 6th largest city, it is famous for its aerospace industry (Concorde, Airbus and the Ariane space rocket all started life here). The city has an underground car park, but if you prefer a different mode of transport, a metro links the outer suburbs to the city centre.

Salies du Salat was probably first inhabited by prehistoric man. After several centuries of living in the caves at Tarté and Marsoulason, they decided to settle closer to the River Salat. Until the 4th century, Salat was often invaded for both its strategic position on the river and its feudal castle. From the 4th century onwards, the village started to prosper from its agriculture, markets and salt production.

Salat was, however, devastated by the plague in 1631, followed by terrible floods in 1678, 1703, 1712, 1752, 1765, 1768, 1772 - the floods left the land infertile and Salat's inhabitants decided to move to neighbouring towns or to Spain. In the 19th century, the railways arrived at Salat, salt production started to become important again and the town started to grow again. In 1925, the thermal baths started to attract visitors to the town and they are now a major tourists attraction.

Thermal baths
The thermal baths at Salies du Salat have the highest concentration of minerals in the whole of Europe (salt: 320 g/l). The baths are said to treat a range of medical conditions, including arthritis, fertility and children's illnesses. Showers, massages, hydro-massages, mud treatments and a swimming pool are also on offer for visitors' beauty treatments.

Things to see
Houses with 18th & 19th-century façades; Feudal castle; ancient town centre; 15th century church "Notre-Dame-de-la-Pitié"; 14th century chapel.