Jun 072013

Markets are often more than a place to do your shopping.

Market Mirepoix

You can try before you buy these at many of the stalls

They are a meeting place, a social event and a chance to see what the local artisans produce. There are markets in many of the towns and villages of the Ariège and the Aude including farmers markets, specialist markets and large markets where you can buy just about anything!

A few are listed here along with a note of our local supermarket.

Although there are some all-day markets, be prepared to go in the morning – most start to pack up around midday. Time for Lunch!

Mirepoix – Monday

This is the nearest to our house, just 8km away. The wonderful Monday morning Mirepoix market is held throughout the year and is a popular favorite. The stalls occupy the square in the centre, a covered iron market stand and the area around the Cathedral and is bigger and busier in the Summer season. You will find artisans selling everything from homemade cheese and breads, organic vegetables and produce of every kind to clothing, wine, antiques, books and music. The cafés and shops which surround the square are equally varied and you will often hear street musicians playing.

There is a smaller Farmers Market on Thursday mornings.

In May around Pentecost, there’s a whole weekend of markets; the Brocante (antiques and collectibles fair) are there all weekend and on the Monday they are joined by the annual flower and plant market as well as the regular market with all its produce, meat, cheese and everything else. The extra stalls fill the surrounding streets and parking is nearly impossible close by, but the longer walk is well worth it.

The large Supermarket in Mirepoix

The local Supermarket is very good with plenty of fresh produce, meat, wine and other goodies. It is on the roundabout going out of town after the Petrol Station (D625) towards Laroque d’Olmes.


Open 9.00am to 19.30pm. Closed Sundays.

Chalabre – Saturday

Beautiful Chalabre was originally a fortified town and has a Covered market hall in the centre approached via little lanes leading from the ‘Cours’ which circles the centre.

Castelnaudary – Monday

About half an hour’s drive from us, it’s a good idea to park – maybe near the canal, and walk, as parking areas are occupied by the market.
If the weather is fine the stallholders will sometimes stay on until the end of the afternoon but you can’t rely on this. Castelnaudary Market is on Mondays all year round. Being a large market held in several squares and streets you will find different goods in various sections so you need to choose where to go. Place Verdun is delightful, very pretty and also has old the open sided Maket Hall. This is where you’ll find the fresh produce, herbs and spices, cheese and charcuterie.

The main street, Cours de la Republique, and the Main square features fashion and jewellery, linen and houshold goods. Here too, you’ll find hot foods cooked on the spot with an international flavour. Nearby is another square holding the Gipsy Market with colourful bric-a brac and occasional treasures.

Limoux – Friday

An all-day market every Friday in the central streets of the city around around the Place de la Republique, the traders who come from far and wide to sell their wares. The market specialises in fresh produce, grown in the hills and valleys that surround Limoux. You can find goods of every kind including regional specialities and gifts to take home.

Limoux is a pleasant place to have lunch and go on to explore with its 15th-16th century houses, the old bridge with its passing places – dating from the 14th century and originally fortified and a museum commemorating the role of the cathars in the region..

Night Markets
During the months of July and August the Limoux seasonal Night markets are are held on Tuesday evenings.


Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Saturday is the big main market day and is situated in the lower, more modern town centre all year whatever the weather. Though known for fashion and flowers in particular, you can buy absolutely anything you want at this busy market.

Night Markets

During the months of July and August these seasonal night markets are held in many towns and villages and tend to specialise in local artisan produce such as cheeses, wines and arts and crafts. They are quite small affairs with a personal touch and often with traditional French music

Many are just one or two designated days at different venues throughout the Summer season. They are organised by the Office de Tourisme. The night market details are published on their website when they are known.

Irregular Markets

Look out for signs saying ‘Vide Grenier’. This means ’empty attic’ and are very like a British ‘Boot Sale’. The signs go up shortly before the event with Dates and Location, or ‘ici’ (‘here’). You can go very early to these and they can be quite large affairs. You never know what you might find, and they are quite relaxed and good fun! They usually finish at midday – the highly respected lunchtime hour.


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