Behind the name "Ariège Tourist Sites" hides the Service for the Exploitation of Tourist Sites in Ariège (SESTA), a service of the Departmental Council of Ariège.
SESTA currently manages 6 tourist sites in Ariège. To discover absolutely!
Created in 1997, SESTA manages the tourist operations of the four sites belonging to the Departmental Council. Namely: the Prehistoric Park of Tarascon-sur-Ariège, the cave of Niaux, the Castle of Foix and the Palace of the Bishops of Saint-Lizier. He is supported in this mission by the Department of Culture, Sport, Education and Heritage Directorate, in particular for the conservation of sites, the organization of exhibitions and events.
An industrial and commercial public service with simple financial autonomy, it has the particularity of balancing its accounts through its own revenues (ticket offices, shops, restaurants, projects, etc.).
Alongside these 4 major tourist sites, SESTA has been supporting the Mas-d'Azil cave and its Prehistory Museum since 2002. Since 2017, the Bédeilhac cave has been added to the Prehistory offer, which is already well represented.
By counting these 6 cultural sites, more than 222 visitors are welcomed each year. The vast majority of them are made up of families, groups and schools.
Obtaining the Grands Sites de Midi-Pyrénées label in 2010 for the Château de Foix, the grotto and the Mas-d'Azil Museum, the Prehistory Park, the Palace of the Bishops of Saint-Lizier and the cave of Niaux , has come to consolidate SESTA in its wish to position Ariège as a land of major tourist sites.
Obtaining the “Grands Sites Occitanie-Sud de France” label in 2018 through the “Niaux / Mas-d'Azil, Prehistoric Pyrenees” and “Foix-Montségur, medieval cities” collections reinforces the efforts undertaken.
In 2020, the Parc de la Préhistoire and the Château de Foix integrated the “Qualité Tourisme Sud de France” label. This labeling allows the two sites to engage in a real progress approach to offer you quality services.