With house prices in the Ariège often half of what they are in the bordering department of Haute-Garonne, it is an excellent location to search for a dream family holiday home in the South of France. Read on to discover more about this beguiling department and where to look for property
If you’re looking for a good-value property in the South of France, have you considered the Ariège? The department which lies furthest south in the Midi-Pyrénées, the Ariège is an ideal location to create and maintain a stress-free, healthy lifestyle and it is renowned for being one of the most unspoiled regions of France.
Where exactly is the Ariège?
The department spans from Lézat-sur-Lèze in the north to the peaks of pic Pédrous in the south, the medieval bastide town of Mirepoix in the east, and the Couserans in the west. Packed within the vast Parc Naturel Régional of the Ariège, the Couserans is a natural wonderland of wild land, forests, prairies, waterfalls and mountains.
This film gives a good idea of the beauty, tranquility and variety of natural trails and terrain that can be explored on foot in this department.
The Parc Naturel Régional was created to protect the history, culture and species in the region. This includes agricultural traditions like transhumance, where farmers move their livestock from high pastures (where they spend the summer) to low pastures (for the winter).
The place to build a peaceful, active lifestyle
One of the major attractions of the Ariège is the tranquility it can offer as well as an active outdoor lifestyle. Bordering Andorra and being on the Pyrénées’ doorstep, it is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.
There are nine ski stations in the department itself and many in the surrounding area, such as Saint-Lary and Bagnères de Luchon. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, running, hiking, water sports (from white water rafting to kayaking) are all popular summer activities in this department.
Winter sports on offer include skiing, snowboarding and show shoeing, and, of course, sledging, a favourite winter pastime for children. The variety of these activities is shown here:
Where to find a low-cost luxury property
It is still possible to snap up a bargain luxury property in the Ariège. Property in the bordering northerly department of the Haute-Garonne starts at €2,225m2, according to MeilleursAgents data, but in the Ariège it is significantly cheaper with average prices starting at around €1,165m2.
There are many villages in the Ariège that are celebrated for their charm, history and unique personalities. Some of the most prominent include: Saint-Lizier (near to Saint-Girons, the capital of the Couserans), Seix (the river Sarlat runs through it), St-Martin d’Odydes (notable for the unusual circular rows of houses around the church), Le Carla-Bayle (colourful houses on a hilltop) and Ayet en Beth (in the pretty Bethmale valley). If you’re into folk dancing and are curious about the village’s wooden clogs, this is a must-visit place for you.
If you’d rather be based in or near some of the bigger towns and cities, it’s best to focus a search around Pamiers, Saint-Girons, Mirepoix, Ax-les-Thermes and Foix – the capital of the Ariège and only an hour to the international airport in Toulouse.
If you are looking to buy a property in the Ariège you can view luxury houses for sale at www.home-hunts.com, but to speak to a consultant about your criteria, and about off-market properties (not viewable on the website), call +33 (0)970 44 66 43. Follow us on Facebook