Sleeping Eating

Le Chalet ( % 05 61 64 24 31; www.le-chalet.fr; 4 av Turrel;

r €50-56; S Dec-Oct; n ) The rushing of the swift-flowing River Lauze beneath will lull you to sleep at this attractive hotel-restaurant, a Logis de France, that overlooks the Thermes du Teich. Even if you aren't staying here, it's well worth dropping by to dine at its excellent restaurant (menus €26 to €45, mains around €19; open for lunch Tuesday to Sunday and for dinner all week during school holidays, open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday and lunch Sunday during the rest of the year).

»'IIU'IIM La Petite Fringale ( % 05 61 01 36 40; rue Piétonne; menus €15-30, mains €14-20; S closed Oct & Wed outside school holidays) Small - you might even say squashed - and with a kitchen that's bigger than the dining area, it's folksy, friendly, hippie at the edges and international, the walls a clutter of souvenirs from exotic holidays abroad. Its cuisine, by contrast, couldn't be more French. Specialities are pig, prepared in myriad ways, Ariégeois dishes and fondues. Portions are large, and clients stagger out satisfied. If you don't believe us, check the enthusiastic graffiti tributes in the toilets. Down a pedestrianised alley near the Bassin de Ladres, it also has a small summertime terrace.

La Pizzatière ( % 05 61 64 33 95; 2 rue Rigal; pizzas around €8) A couple of doors away from La Petite Fringale, this place stands out from Ax's dozen or so quick-fix pizza joints by the huge range of takeaways it offers and its 55cm-diameter giant for the truly ravenous.

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