Mirepoix and its famous arcaded market square

Mirepoix (Fr. Mirepoix) is a commune in the Ariège department in southwestern France. The city is famous as one of the finest survived arcaded market squares – Les Couverts – in France. The square is bordered by half-timbered houses dating from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.

Tourism and main attractions

The episcopal palace was built by the bishop of Mirepoix Philippe de Lévis, elected bishop of Mirepoix on December 19, 1493.

The cathedral of St-Maurice has the second widest Gothic arch in Europe (after Girona in Catalonia, Spain). The foundation stone was laid by Jean de Lévis on the 6th May 1298. Construction continued, with interruptions, over the next six centuries. The cathedral was restored in 1858 and 1859 by Prosper Mérimée, and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

House of Consuls dates from the fifteenth century: January 5, 1274, Guy III of Lévis gives the inhabitants of the city the right to elect consuls. After the devastating flood of the Hers in June 1289, he granted them a concession, a few days later, of a hundred cracks of land on the left bank of the river to build the new town there.

The Porte d’Avail or Porte d’Aval is a stone building located rue Monseigneur-de-Cambon.

Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Michel church is located in the cemetery, avenue Victor Hugo, it presents four paintings, three of which retrace the foundation and work of the Trinitarians, and a 17th century altarpiece. One can see in the cemetery the mausoleum of Marshal Clauzel as well as the tombs of Colonel Petitpied, Governor Émile Pinet-Laprade, and the couple of writers Raymond and Marie-Louise Escholier.

Festivals and cultural events

  • First Sunday in July: Mirepoix local history book fair
  • Third weekend of July (since 1979): Historical Festivities of Mirepoix. For four days, entertainment and shows are offered during the day and in the evening. A large parade is presented on Sunday afternoon

  • First weekend of August (since 1988): Puppet arts festival. For four days, the city is decorated by a scenographers and many shows (regional, national and international) are played in different places of the bastide
  • Season of concerts (from May to October) in the cathedral by the Friends of the organ French association
  • During the start of the new school year, scientific exhibition is organized by the association Vive la science.

Cuisine and restaurants

The city is known for its (Mirepoix) preparation which is a mixture of slowly cooked carrots, onions and celery, used as a base to add flavor to sauces, soups and stews.

By metonymy, it is the name of the sauce that contains this preparation.

They also call “mirepoix cut” the fact of dicing a vegetable.

“Mirepoix” preparation is comparable to Italian soffrito or Catalan sofregit. But the French term can mean the raw cut or cooked vegetables. The Italian term refers only to the vegetables sautéed in olive oil. In France, the mirepoix usually sautés in butter.

There are no Michelin guide restaurants in Mirepoix.

Shopping

Mirepoix market is held every Monday and is a fantastic place to buy the very best products Ariege has to offer.

Personal favourites to feed the whole family are the hot chicken stand and the various fresh fruit stalls.

Most of the souvenirs shops are located in the Les Couverts square.

Transport and how to get to?

Shortest distances by car

From Foix: 37 min (35.8 km) via D119

From Toulouse (tolls): 1 hr 9 min (91.3 km) via A66

From Carcassonne: 48 min (46.7 km) via D119

From Biarritz (tolls): 3 hr 40 min (349 km) via A64

From Bayonne (tolls): 3 hr 34 min (338 km) via A64

From Dax (tolls): 3 hr 31 min (316 km) via A64

From Nantes: 6 hr 12 min (674 km) via A10 and A62

From Saumur (tolls): 6 hr 14 min (632 km) via A10 and A62

From Bordeaux (tolls): 3 hr 18 min (333 km) via A62

From La Rochelle (tolls): 4 hr 54 min (511 km) via A62

From Monaco (tolls): 5 hr 16 min (540 km) via A8 and A9

From Nice (tolls): 5 hr 1 min (518 km) via A8 and A9

From Marseille (tolls): 3 hr 33 min (361 km) via A9

From Montpellier (tolls): 2 hr 8 min (200 km) via A9 and A61

From Béziers (tolls): 1 hr 35 min (139 km) via A61

From Perpignan (tolls): 1 hr 44 min (165 km) via A9 and A61

From Narbonne (tolls): 1 hr 17 min (109 km) via A61

From Andorra (tolls): 2 hr 11 min (132 km) via N20

Main information

Area: 47.3 sq. km

Population: 3 200

Languages: French

Currency: euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

GPS coordinates: 43°05′23″N 1°52′28″E

 

 

Read more: The cities of the Pyrenees and around with Andrew Morato ...