• Picture of a girl in a shop bio


shops and their role in the community

Ariège has succeeded in protecting its local identity, managing to preserve its shops, and thus provides a wonderful environment for good living and buying good products. Certain towns such as Pamiers, Foix and Saint-Girons are central shopping places but most of the territory has easy access to everyday shops and local services.

The emphasis on local production

Many towns and villages have weekly markets, so that everyone can purchase local produce: there are nearly fifty every week.

Most Ariège markets are even recognised nationally, such as that in Saint-Girons, which draws a large number of visitors every Saturday. It was named the finest Midi-Pyrénées market in 2021. With over 120 stalls, this market is thriving and varied with the emphasis on local food products, many farmers coming to sell their produce directly. And sales are not limited to food products. To enjoy quality local products in exceptional surroundings, you just need to go to Mirepoix on a Monday morning, where traders cheerfully greet you in the thoroughly convivial atmosphere of the covered market.

A thriving shopping zone

To add to its strong local identity, Ariège has successfully kept up with the times in attracting major brands that have set up business to complete the existing range of commodities and services. Pamiers is the main commercial centre in Ariège: with its internationally known franchises and its car dealers’ trading estate, it is possible to find everything you need for home improvements, clothing, decoration, etc.

Active town-centres

Ariège is constantly evolving, determined to breathe new life into the town-centres: more and more businesses are setting up shop, and the proportion of vacant premises is in steady decline. In Foix, the proportion of empty premises was 4.4% in 2021, compared with 24.2% in 2016. The creation of these new businesses was facilitated by the various support measures put in place to help the (future) entrepreneurs: the NACRE (“nouvel accompagnement à la création ou la reprise d’entreprise”, or new business creation or acquisition scheme), support from the OCDE (“Office du Commerce et des Entreprises”, or trade and companies office) in Pamiers and the economic branch of the Communauté d’Agglomération Pays Foix-Varilhes (Foix-Varilhes urban community). In addition, there are traders’ groups that represent Ariège businesses and ensure their promotion. In Pamiers, the Association des Commerçants (traders’ association) takes care of revitalising the town-centre and organising events. Enjoy the benefits of local support in launching your commercial venture!

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