Located south east of the Midi Pyrenees region, the department of Ariège shares its borders with the French departments of Haute-Garonne (north and west), Aude and Pyrenees-Orientales (east), as well as with Andorra and Spain to the south. The Ariege department was created from the counties of Couserans and Foix. As a former part of the Aquitaine region, this area has retained many hallmarks of the Gascon culture. Foix is the major administrative town of the department (préfecture). Pamiers and Mirepoix are the 2 sub-prefectures. Let’s discover this beautiful rural department!
Ariege nestles in the Pyrenees mountains and offers besides an outstanding fauna (isards, marmots, bears) and flora. More than 50% of the territory is mountainous and forests cover about 491,000 hectares. Even if Ariege belongs to the least populated French departments (137,205 inhabitants), the nature there is amidst the most unspoiled of the country.The Ariégeois (Ariege’s inhabitants) are proud of their department, the soil of which is very fertile and allow thus an intense farming activity. The locals enjoy keeping old traditions alive, especially farming techniques.
The Midi-Pyrenees region is becoming more and more sought-after, as properties in the neighbouring departments of Aquitaine and Languedoc-Roussillon are often very expensive and these markets begin to be saturated. The Ariege department enjoys a great climate and is well-located: close to the Pyrenees mountains and the sea. It is a perfect place to go on holiday.
Property prices are pretty stable in this area. If you plan to invest in an ancient apartment in Ariege, you will pay about €1,320 /sq m in 2009. The average prices for old apartments stay under the national one. As in many towns, buying a studio flat costs more than an apartment in Ariege: a studio flat will cost you about €1,640 /sq m, whereas you will pay €1,310 / square metre on average for a 3-room apartment. Property prices for new apartments are incredibly high: €4,130 /sq m.
Many foreign people - especially British - are really interested in buying old properties to renovate in the Ariege department. There are still bargains to drive in this region!
To get updated info about housing prices in the Lozère departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
A great department nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Ariege offers fantastic skiing in winter and plenty of outdoor activities in summer. Less than one hour away from Toulouse and Carcassonne, it is a lovely place to live in or to visit on holiday!
Natural environment: the Pyrenees mountain range offers a great environment to this department. The Pyrenees National Park spreads until Ariege, providing breathtaking landscapes.
Winter sports: the Ariege department has several ski resorts, such as Ax-Bonascre, Les Monts d'Olmes and Guzet. Skiers can enjoy the uncrowded ski slopes and the varied activities at all levels of difficulty: downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoe walking for instance.
Prehistorical heritage: this department has the largest concentration of prehistoric caves in France. Let’s visit some of the most famous caves of the country: the caves of Niaux, Bedeilhac, Lombrives, etc. You will be able to gaze at paintings and wall drawings of bison, horses and ibex dating from the prehistory. If you are keen on prehistorical heritage, do not miss the Parc de la Préhistoire (Park of Prehistory) located at Tarascon.
Outdoor activities: there is a wide choice of outdoor leisure activities in the Ariege department. The Pyrenees mountains and their numerous marked paths are perfect for hiking. But you can also swim, fish and practise canoeing and sail boarding on the fresh water lakes. Cycling is particularly appreciated in this French department where the Tour de France regularly comes to a stop. Cyclists can practise mountain bike down tracks or gently pedal in the valleys.
Castles and forts: you will find in the Ariege department many castles and strongholds dating from the Middle Ages. Montsegur and Roquefixade castles are the best examples: perched upon very high rocks, these famous castles were built during the 12th and 13th century. They remain mythic sites as they provided asylums for the Cathars at the time of the Albigensian Crusade. The castles are beautifully situated with magnificent views over the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Ariege has different types of traditional property styles. Indeed, this department is influenced by the neighbouring ones and does not have a real architectural unity. This is the reason why we can find the same kind of houses there than in Languedoc-Roussillon or Aquitaine for instance.
Ariege traditional houses: simple and barely decorated, these properties were built with local material, ie stones (walls) and wood (roof beams). Very little wood is used outside the house except for balconies, doors and windows’ frames. These properties are oriented in order to benefit from the sun beams.
Village houses: often composed of cement, with colour-painted shutters, balconies and doors, these properties can be found in almost all the villages of the Ariege department. Doors and windows are almost always made up of wooden ones. Village houses are detached and sometimes have a garden and a courtyard. Inside the house there are wood beams.
Click here for more info about Midi Pyrenees Architecture.
|Take a closer look at the Ariege property market:|
|Foix Property Information||Mirepoix Property Information|
|Pamiers Property Information||Saint Girons Property Information|