Mirepoix, Historical Festival

Historical Festival of Mirepoix
Les Fêtes Historiques de Mirepoix
Mirepoix d'Ariége (Occitanie region)

Medieval festival in the town centre with crafts market, several animations, plays and concerts as well as a big costume parade… a chance to relive scenes of past time, to actively take part in the events, while sensing and enjoying the amazing Middle Ages in a charming French medieval bastide or walled town…

Geographical, cultural and historical context

Mirepoix is situated halfway between Carcassonne and Foix in the region Ariège named after a torrential river, the Ariège, and steeped in history between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, a landscape of legends, of gorges, rocks and beautiful medieval fortified towns and villages. Mirepoix is famous for hosting one of the finest surviving arcaded market squares - Les Couverts - in France. The large central square is bordered by half-timbered houses, that dates from the 13th to the 15th centuries and are supported on wood pillars, creating a magnificent covered arcade. The ends of the joists of the richest houses are sculpted, and the most beautiful sculptures are to be found on the Maison des Consuls (council house): dozens of images of animals and monsters, and caricatures of mediaeval professions and social groups.

Other landmarks include the 13th century cathedral of St-Maurice with the second widest Gothic arch in Europe (after Girona in Spain) and its 60m high pointed bell-tower, the Porte d'Aval dating to the late 14th century, and in the surroundings the majestic ruins of Château de Lagarde, built in the 14th century and once nicknamed the "Le petit Versailles du Languedoc".

The earliest mention of the place dates to the 10th century. In year 1209, during the crusade against Cathares, Mirepoix was captured by Simon V de Montfort (c. 1175-1218 AD), lord of Montfort-l'Amaury in France and Earl of Leicester in England, a French nobleman and soldier, who took the feudal castle from the local dinasty, deeply linked to Catharism heresy, and gave it to his loyal lieutenant Guy de Levis (1180-1233 AD), who became Maréchal of Mirepoix. The town, originally built on the right bank of the river Hers, was destroyed by a violent flood in 1289, and rebuilt in 1290 on an elevated natural terrace on the other side of the river in the form of a bastide, with a large central square and streets following two perpedicular axes, a layout that has not changed since then.

Event description and programme

Every year in July volunteers and professional groups come together for several days of celebration which bring to life the medieval heyday of Mirepoix. The Historical Festival features representations of daily life, crafts, entertainment, military and trade activities of the past, involving the visitors into a full-immersive medieval experience with street entertainment, music and theatre shows, animations, guided tours, living history displays, historical parades with over 400 participants, various displays and activities, workshops and lectures, leisure and educational programs specially tailored for children, and a colourful crafts market.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Mirepoix Tourism Office / Office de Tourisme du Pays de Mirepoix
Address: Place Maréchal Leclerc, 09500 Mirepoix, France
Tel.: +33 (0)5 61688376
E-mail: contact@tourisme-mirepoix.com
Web: http://www.tourisme-mirepoix.com

Association M.A.M.E.T.
Address: c/o Mairie de Mirepoix, Place Maréchal Leclerc, 09500 Mirepoix, France
Tel.: +33 (0)5 681269686
E-mail: Associationmamet@hotmail.fr
Web: http://associationmamet.e-monsite.com/

Mirepoix Town Council / Mairie de Mirepoix
Address: Place Maréchal Leclerc, 09500 Mirepoix, France 
Tel.: +33 (0)5 681269686
E-mail: mairie@mirepoix.fr
Web: http://mairie-mirepoix.fr/

Ariege web portal

Image: Mirepoix Town Council 
Text sources: Mirepoix Town Council. Mirepoix Tourism Office, Wikipedia, Ariege.com

Mirepoix on Google Maps:



Promos and video reportages of the event:




Exploring Mirepoix and the Ariege region:





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