Located in the plain of the Ariege River, in the area called the Basse Ariège, Pamiers is one of the two sous-préfectures (main administrative towns) of the Ariege department. It is also the biggest town of this department in terms of population with about 17,000 inhabitants (the Appaméens). The Romans apparently settled Pamiers during the 3rd century BC. Apart from being the birthplace of Gabriel Fauré (classical French musician and composer) and a ville fleurie (awards ‘town in bloom’), Pamiers is also a perfect place for surveillance, communication and agriculture (rich fertile soil).
Pamiers has a long history: at the 5th century, the area was called Frédélas, meaning kingdom of Frédéric - name of one of the sons of Toulouse’s wisigoth king. Later, by the 12th century, Pamiers became the fief of the orthodoxy as the Cathars were oppressed. During the following centuries of the Middle Ages, the town managed to develop itself pretty quickly and became famous for religious purpose (it was a diocese). These days, the ‘hall-door of Ariege’ is still growing. Its major assets are its thriving economy, good transport links, closeness to Toulouse and outstanding lifestyle: countryside and mountains as well as all possible local facilities (restaurants, bars, supermarkets, large public swimming pools, etc).
In 2009, property prices in Pamiers are really low, the Ariege department belongs indeed to the cheapest area of France in terms of real estate. Considering its good location (southern France, between mountains and sea), unspoiled nature, easy accessibility to big cities such as Toulouse and Carcassonne and rich history, Pamiers is a good place to invest in.
Buying an ancient apartment there is very cheap: between €1,100 / square metre and €1,360 / square metre. The average property prices for ancient apartments in the Ariege are below the national average in almost all the areas. On the opposite, ancient houses are pretty dear with an average price of €148,000. You should plan to spend about €108,700 for a 3-room house and €178,400 for a 6-room one.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Ariege departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Pamiers boasts a good climate, wonderful landscapes and a well-developed transport network. It is also famous for its three bell towers and its cathedral (seat of Pamiers’ bishop).
Location: situated at about 52km (32mi) south of Toulouse, 17km (10.5mi) north of Foix, 61km (38mi) west of Carcassonne and 72km (45mi) east of Saint-Gaudens, Pamiers is an important crossroads of communications between the southern part of Toulouse’s surroundings and the high valleys of Ariege. You can access the town by train with the line Toulouse/Latour-de-Carol, by road taking the motorway A66 (Villefranche-de-Lauragais/Pamiers) and the national road RN20 (Paris/Spain).
Religious history: as far as religion is concerned, Pamiers’ history is really fascinating. The town suffered much from the French Wars of Religion: many churches (except the towers which were used as observation towers) as well as the abbey were destroyed. In 1629, the king of Condé devastated the town and the locals were sent to galleys. A huge reconstruction of religious buildings was organised during the 17th and 18th centuries by large bishops – François de Caulet and Jean-Baptiste de Verthamon.
Growing economy: Pamiers is the economical capital town of the Ariege department. Its metallurgical factory dates back to the 19th century and still allows many locals to live. Metallurgy is the most important activity of the town. Pamiers’ economy is thriving and many industrial and business parks are being built.
Traditional markets: three large open-air markets take place every week on the main square - Place de la République - which is paved in red marble. There is also a flea market every Sunday morning. Let’s stroll in these farmers’ markets and discover the local products!
Villas: these grand properties provide great views on forests or fields. There are often numerous dependences, a beautiful terrace with fountain and a swimming-pool on the land. Sometimes in need of renovation, these villas are much sought after as they are large and located in very quiet and peaceful areas.
Maisons de Maitre: these properties can especially be found in the wide river valleys of the area. They are exceptional French properties, both architecturally and historically speaking. Dating back to the 18th century, these houses - being a sign of wealth and power in France at that time - belonged to prosperous upper class Frenchmen. Vast domains of fields as well as woods or plots of water often surround such properties that are generally composed of many rooms. It is nowadays worth investing in such properties, either for renovation or for hostel possibilities.
Village houses: these properties full of character are often bright and benefit from sunny exposition. Sometimes pretty small, they are very confortable and have practical layout. The main material used to build these village houses is stone, but their walls can also be in cement. Their roofs are in tiles and slightly sloping. Wood is much used inside the houses (beams), generally for decoration purpose. Why not invest in the delightful village of Pamiers which is provided with shops, bars and a couple of restaurants? It would be a good opportunity to mix with the friendly locals and integrate into French life!
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