Mirepoix is a town in the Ariege department of the Midi-Pyrenees between Carcassonne and Foix. It is a beautiful medieval bastide town and it should not be missed if you are in this area.
From its medieval past it has preserved a 14th-century fortified gate and a stunning market square surrounded by beautiful half-timbered houses whose first floors jut out over the square creating an arcaded walkway below. The café terraces, shops and traditional market on Monday mornings make it a lovely spot to visit.
The cathedral in Mirepoix, the cathedral of Saint Maurice, is a gothic style cathedral. It is the second largest single-naved church in Europe and is a classified Historic Monument.
The town organises a host of events including: Les Fêtes Historiques with shows and a costumed procession on the third weekend of July; a puppet festival at the start of August; and one dedicated to apples on the third weekend in October!
Did you know that since March 2022, the town of Mirepoix is officially classified as a "Remarkable Heritage Site"? This is a fine recognition, which protects and enhances the historical, architectural, archaeological, and artistic heritage of this unique place.
Ariege nestles in the central Pyrenees, next to Andorra, its highest peaks visible from Toulouse. It is one of the most unspoiled regions of France, whose inhabitants have held fast to their traditions. The countryside is wild but easily accessible. Top grade trout streams rush down forested mountainsides into rivers where kayakers paddle. Waymarked walking trails lead to 3000 metres peaks where isards (chamois), marmots and even bears roam. Cyclists can take in a stage of the Tour de France, mountain bike down tracks or gently pedal in the valleys...
Numerous species of butterflies, orchids and raptors thrive here thanks to the endurance of ancient farming practices such as the transhumance, when cows, sheep and Mérens horses are led up to the high summer pastures.
Its many prehistoric caves, Cathar chateaux and WWII escape routes over the mountains are testament to the ways Ariège has served as a place of refuge and resistance throughout history.