Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fiestas, Fireworks and Fun!

We headed south and to the Ariege the weekend of Bastille Day and stayed in a village the Tour de France was passing through on the Sunday! If that wasn't enough to keep us busy, we arrived on Friday evening in the lovely town of Pamiers to discover that it was Fiesta time and the town was really humming! 

There were stalls all over town selling tapas and beers, there was salsa dancing and fair ground rides, the restaurants were full to bursting and pavement cafes were doing a brisk trade. The close proximity to Spain was obvious in both the food and drinks available and the latino vibe. It was an awesome sight and the dancing and drinking went on into the night. There was a firework display just after 1030hrs which was spectacular and for us marked the end of the merriment as, after our 5 hour drive we were ready for our bed. 

We were lucky enough to be able to get a room in the centrally located Hotel de France - nothing outstanding but clean and comfortable and in a great location.

The next morning we headed out for our petit dejeuner and found a lovely boulangerie where we scoffed some seriously delicious pain aux raisins and pain au chocolat, washed down with equally tasty freshly brewed coffee.
After our scrumptious brekkie we made our way to Mirepoix, a medieval bastide town in the Ariege, mid way between Carcassonne and Foix. 

The weather had turned considerably cooler and greyer which was a shame but Mirepoix was still lovely to visit with its half timbered houses, supported on wooded pillars and creating a magnificent covered arcade.

As vegetarians, eating out in France can present quite a challenge, especially in the south west where meat figures strongly on the menu. So we were delighted when we found in the main square a vegetarian and organic restaurant offering some tasty meals. We opted for the set menu which was excellent value for money and more than we could eat!

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