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Pamiers - economical capital of the Ariège

The town of Pamiers, with its distinctive three towers, dates back to the 5th century and is the largest in the department of the Ariège. It may not be the prefecture (this honour goes to its smaller neighbour, Foix) but it is certainly the economical capital of the department, the liveliest and the most cosmopolitan to boot. Pamiers, despite its setting in a rural, mountainous region of southern France, en-route to the tiny tax haven of Andorra, is a great place to live, with its thriving commercial centre, excellent leisure facilities and beautiful scenery all around.

Great for shopping

If you live in the Ariège, then Pamiers is where you go to do your shopping, as it has a superb collection of shops ranging from massive supermarkets to furniture stores to high fashion boutiques. For those who like their shopping with a traditional flavour, Pamiers also hosts several farmers' markets each week, plus a great flea market in the red marble main square on Sunday mornings. Now there's a reason not to lie in bed all day!

Leisure time

Pamiers is also great for those who like to fill their leisure time with things to do, with churches to explore, a cinema to visit and bars to try out. There is also a huge range of sports available in and near the town. Think mountains, climbing, skiing, lakes, sailing, swimming (there are large indoor and outdoor swimming pools in Pamiers), fishing and go-karting. There are also plenty of social activities, such as the friendly bowling alley where you can socialise at the bar, play a game or two with your friends, then adjourn to the surprisingly good restaurant for a well deserved meal.

Dining in Pamiers

And talking of restaurants, Pamiers offers an almost bewildering range of cuisines and styles of restaurants, so whatever your taste or mood you will find something to suit. The buffet style "all you can eat" Chinese is a great place to begin, and there is, of course, a "Mac Do" to keep the kids happy!

Out and about

The region is rich in history, and if you have an interest in the events that shaped the region, you can follow the trail of the tragic Cathars by visiting Foix, a great centre for the Cathars, and the ruined castle of Montsegur, one of the last Cathar strongholds to be taken. Then there is Tarascon, with its prehistoric caves and educational park; Carcassonne, with its fairy tale walled cité; the pretty bastide town of Mirepoix... the list is endless. Andorra too, is just a heartbeat away, for all the tax-free shopping you can handle.

How to get there

If you want to travel from the UK by air, you can fly to Toulouse, Carcassonne or Perpignan. Toulouse is served by British Airways, easyJet, bmi, Jet2 and flybe; Carcassonne by Ryanair; and Perpignan by Ryanair, bmibaby and flybe. Train travel is another option, as the TGV will get you to Toulouse, from where you can find a local service to Pamiers itself. Drivers should take the A66 or N20, from which Pamiers is well signposted. The D624 or D119 are the roads that takes you right into Pamiers.

Property prices and availability in and around Pamiers

Pamiers property is among the best value in the south of France. If you are looking for a home or holiday home in an area where there is plenty to do, yet which still boasts acres and acres of unspoiled countryside, oodles of history and great accessibility to places of interest, Pamiers is certainly worth considering.

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WHERE IS Pamiers?

Pamiers is set in the south of France, in the foothills of the Pyrénées. It lies in the north of the Ariège department.

Pamiers Property Map


Midi-Pyrénées Guide

Midi-Pyrénées Property Map


Ariège Guide

  Ariège Map

Population: 17,000

Access: By air: Fly to Carcassonne with Ryanair from a variety of UK airports, or to Toulouse. By road: Pamiers lies on the D119/D624, which is adjacent to the N20\A66. By rail: There is a railway station at Pamiers.

Economy: Pamiers has a large and healthy economy, with a blend of agriculture, commerce, industry and leisure creating a thriving and well served community.

Interesting fact: Pamiers derived its name from the word "pams" (pieces). It took this name as it lies where the land surrounding the River Ariège was divided into six parts.

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