Hidden Treasures of the Ariège Department, Episode 488

Categories: Occitanie, Off the Beaten Track in France, Toulouse Area

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon.

In this episode of Join Us in France, host Annie Sargent teams up with Elyse Rivin of Toulouse Guided Walks for a comprehensive exploration of the Ariège Department. It is a stunning, yet often overlooked, treasure in the heart of France. Nestled to the south, bordering Spain and Andorra, the Ariège department emerges as a sanctuary for adventurers, families, and those seeking respite from the well-trodden tourist paths. Through their conversation, Annie and Elyse uncover the natural beauty, rich history, and cultural delights that make Ariège a must-visit destination.

The Beauty of the Ariège Department

Are you prepared to uncover the secrets of Ariège, nestled in the French Pyrenees? It's a region shrouded in mystery, offering a landscape that transitions from the gentle plains near Toulouse to the imposing peaks of the mountains. What makes Ariège a haven for those who cherish the outdoors?

Starting with a bit of history, Annie and Elyse examine the migration patterns prompted by economic downturns in the mid-20th century. What tales linger in the abandoned villages and the quiet, forgotten towns? These narratives not only recount Ariège's past but also hint at its potential as a burgeoning tourist haven.

From the architectural splendor of Foix Castle, the poignant history of Montségur, to the quaint charm of Mirepoix, the region brims with activities. Whether it's hiking, cycling, or delving into the depths of Grotte de Niaux and the Parc de la Préhistoire, Ariège is a playground for the adventurous.

Markets and Festivals in the Ariège

There are so many markets and festivals in Occitanie that it's hard to list them all here. This page keeps a current list. We recommend you take a look before any visit to this part of France. Or even better, call the local tourist office. They always speak English and will have the latest and greatest information on these events.

Foix Market: Held every Tuesday and Friday in the historical town of Foix, this market is a lively place where locals and tourists alike can find fresh produce, local crafts, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Ariège capital.

Saint-Girons Market: Taking place every Saturday. The Saint-Girons market is renowned in the region for its variety and the quality of its local products. From food to handmade goods, making it a perfect showcase of Ariège's rich agricultural and artisanal traditions.

Mirepoix Medieval Festival: Occurring the third weekend of July. This festival transforms the already picturesque town of Mirepoix into a medieval wonderland. With its costumed parades, crafts, and historical reenactments, it offers a plunge into the past.

Pamiers' Marché des Producteurs: A weekly market every Saturday focusing on local producers. It offers a taste of the region's best in terms of fresh, quality produce directly from the source.

Ax-les-Thermes Market: A twice-weekly market (Thursday and Sunday). In the spa town of Ax-les-Thermes, where visitors can find a range of local products in a scenic mountain setting.

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Discussed in this Episode

  • Pamiers
  • Foix
  • Mirepoix
  • Camon
  • Vals
  • Saint-Lizier
  • Saint-Girons
  • Ax-les-Thermes
  • Mas d'Azil
  • Lavelanet
  • Andora
  • Roquefixade
  • Mounjetade
  • Château de Montségur
  • La Vache
  • Parc de la Préhistoire
  • Mas d'Azil
  • Labouiche
  • Les Forges de Pyrène
  • Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises
  • Lake of Bethmale
  • La Maison des Loups
  • Goulier
  • Ax Trois Domaines
  • Plateau de Beille
  • Couserans
  • Gabriel Fauré
  • Réserve d'Orlu
  • La Grotte de Niaux
  • Grotte de Bédeilhac (summer music)
  • Grotte de Lavelanet
  • Museum of History of Textiles
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If you enjoyed this episode, you should also listen to related episode(s):

Medieval activity at the Chateau de Foix: Ariège Department episode
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Categories: Occitanie, Off the Beaten Track in France, Toulouse Area