SUMMER - AUGUST
Festival “Rite” in St Girons and surrounding villages: a week of song, dance and music of the world. Around 300 artists from a dozen countries, performing in town and village squares, in bars and restaurants, and all together in the big exhibition centre in St Girons for the grande finale.
Autrefois Le Couserans: one of the ‘big’ festivals, attracting many thousands of visitors. Two days celebrating the old rural traditions of the Couserans valleys. The Sunday morning procession is one of the Ariège's great events.
Ingénieuse Afrique, Foix. Hugely popular festival of all things Africa; there are at least five concerts over three days (plus a few impromptu performances), much dancing, an African market, workshops, exhibitions, African restaurants. We never miss this one!
Son et Lumière open air spectacle at Le Fossat; different every year but always tracing some facet of local peasant life in the valley.
Son et Lumière open air spectacle in Foix: also different every year – usually based around a timeline of events in Cathar Ariège.
Open air spectacle at Le Mas d’Azil, performed by local volunteer actors and based around life in the caves in the prehistoric era.
Manouch' Muzik Festival in Mazères - three days of gipsy and Romany music, from flamenco to swing and jazz.
AUTUMN - SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
Foire Agricole, Rimont: a (very!) small-scale foire in our own village at the feast of St Michel (Michaelmas), when the animals come down from the summer pastures. Food and craft market, vide grenier, animals, various animations and of course the traditional lunch.
Festival des Saveurs, Ax les Thermes. Two days celebrating Ariège’s local produce, those who produce it, and those who cook it. Lots of tastings and demonstrations.
Fête de la Noisette (hazelnut), Lavelanet. All sorts of events alongside the usual stands and market, over two days.
Fête de la Figue, Le Mas d’Azil. Ditto, but this time celebrating figs rather than hazelnuts. Well worth going to.
Ariège en Bio, Lorp Sentaraille. A one day celebration of all things organic in Ariège, with presentations on organic growing and green building, a big market and a community space. Don’t miss lunch from the nomadic restaurant – it’s excellent.
Fête de la Pomme, Mirepoix. Two days centred around the apple; all sorts of the usual stalls, plus amazing (and fragrant) sculptures made entirely from different coloured apples.