Monday is market day. Let’s face it, it’s always market day somewhere in the Ariège, but Mirepoix is probably the biggest in the region. Its medieval town square along with most of the tributary streets that lead into it are transformed into canopies of colour. Everything and anything is sold, with food of course, taking up pride of place. I think I passed at least four cheese sellers, displaying their wares; huge rounds of cheese on display. Haunches of pork being expertly sliced, fruit by the bucket load, olives, bread, and sausages of every size and shape. I even saw a wooden crate of ducks.
We arrived at the market at about 9:30am, and should you want to visit I suggest you come early, as towards lunchtime the market and the traffic gets very busy. The nearest SuperU (supermarket) car park soon fills up, and most of the side streets too. We normally find a spot on the street which runs in front the main hotel called ‘Les minotiers’. On most other days it’s pretty easy to park in one of the side streets that run off the main square.
We were interested in getting some cheese, bread and fruit. Quick tip, no point in asking for cent grammes of a cheese as by the time the seller cuts a wedge out of the round, even a small one its going to be at least 300 grams, (not that I am complaining - the more cheese on my plate the better!
If you are a bloke, Mirepoix provides a wonderful place for an alfresco wee! They have a urinal – a pissoir - set up right in the middle of the market. It has a sort of metal mesh from chest to knee to give the patron a sense of privacy, but I could have easily continued a conversation with whomever whilst relieving myself. For the ladies on the other side there is a modern toilet that takes 20cents and is self flushing. In fact if you put 50c instead by mistake it gives you your money back and opens for free! I can’t really comment on the cleanliness but Michelle says it was 'aromatic.'
Most the of bars and restaurants which make up the main square have Wi-Fi, and if your dongle doesn’t stretch very far (fnaaar, fnaaar) its always worth while sitting down with a beer or coffee and using the time to relax watch the world go by and check your mail, pay bills, etc. You may well find the atmosphere so inviting you end up having your lunch there! I’m beginning to see a internet thread here appearing, but when you are used to the almost unlimited bandwidth we enjoyed back in Australia it’s hard to ration yourself.