The Argelès-Gazost market, between terroir and traditions of the Pyrenees

Argelès-Gazost
The Argelès-Gazost ma ...
Nestled at an altitude of 460 meters, Argelès-Gazost is a charming mid-mountain village which enjoys a privileged geographical location in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains. Renowned for its thermal waters and its climatic benefits, the city with the allure of "little Nice" is very popular with epicureans for its fabulous mountain scenery, for its restaurants, its café terraces, its casino, its gardens, its fountains and for its market that has existed since 1292!

Argelès-Gazost market

The Thermal Park of Argelès Gazost, a vast park laid out in the 19th century with many botanical species and rare essences.

Argelès-Gazost market

The center of the bustling village, on a market day

A real meeting place for traders and producers from the Argelès-Gazost valley, this weekly market is an essential place of exchange and conviviality that I will make you discover in the company of José Alvarez, the President of the Syndicat des marchés des Hautes Pyrenees.


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A country market and small producers

Throughout the year, the Argelès-Gazost market is the beating heart of the city every Tuesday morning. Documented in the town's archives, this institution has set the pace for the life of the inhabitants of the village and the entire valley for more than 700 years around the church, between Place du Foirail and Place de la République.


Argelès-Gazost market


This place steeped in history is José's stronghold, he knows it like the back of his hand. “Here the abundance of products is representative of the diversity of local terroirs. Farmers and traders from all over the valley meet there every week to sell their produce, of course, but also to have a good time with locals and visitors. The peasants leave their farms for a few hours, the breeders come down from the mountain with fresh and quality products for the happiness of all ”he explains to me with enthusiasm. “This market lives all year round thanks to the producers, the "old people”, joined by seasonal workers, the “young people”, in the summer period who decorate the stalls with crafts, products from different regions and others. fantasies, ”he explains. Precisely, let's go together to meet the “old people”, these true local figures in the four corners of the market.


Argelès-Gazost market


To start our round, head to Dominique Escoulan's traveling hardware store, a family affair for three generations. If you are looking for a piece or DIY material, you will inevitably find what you are looking for in its junk. Dominique offers a complete range of hardware and tools, but he specializes above all in hazelnut baskets from Bigorre and the famous bells from the Pyrenees, these bells shaped entirely by hand that shepherds place around the necks of grazing cows.


Argelès-Gazost market

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A few stalls farther on, scents of butter and pastry tickle our nostrils. These delicious smells emanate from Bernard Laquerie's stand in the process of making the traditional spit cake (fr). This emblematic Pyrenean delicacy, conical in shape and provided with "spikes", delights the palate with its taste of fresh butter with aromas of vanilla and rum. A true delight!


Argelès-Gazost market

Argelès-Gazost market


Strolling between the stands with José, we quickly let ourselves be won over by the overflowing energy of the hundred or so passionate producers and traders who animate the market. On the stalls, we give pride of place to food products to the delight of consumers: seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, typical cooked dishes, bread, pastries etc...

The charcuterie holds a preponderant place there, an ancestral know-how in the Pyrenees and the Basque Country. Here, Bigorre black pork is a particularly popular local specialty. Head to Cathy and Francis' stand, whose core business is cold meats, cured meats and traditional cuisine from pork raised on their farm: the Ferme de l'Enclave. The couple has been offering a range of delicious pork products (candied sausage, ham, sausage, blood sausage, pâté) for over 28 years!


Argelès-Gazost market

Argelès-Gazost market

Cathy and Francis, master butchers

Cheese is also a real star of the market: Barousse cheese, Pyrenean goat manure, sheep cheese, Ossau-Iraty… The choice is vast! With great pride, Jeannette and Jean-Charles Chourré present a range of artisan cheeses that they make with the milk of sheep, cows and goats from their farm located between Ferrières and Arbéost. The Cascades farm also offers a selection of tommes from their high mountain breeding as well as products made from edible wild plants. Further on, Pascal makes us discover his work as a beekeeper through the variety of honeys he produces in the nearby Val d'Azun. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss the precious know-how of these craftsmen!


Argelès-Gazost market

Argelès-Gazost market   Argelès-Gazost market

Argelès-Gazost market

La Ferme des Cascades, organic farm products, fruits and vegetables and edible plants

Argelès-Gazost market


Faced with this abundance of local products, I venture to ask José about the typical and essential dishes of the Pyrenees to taste during a stay in the region. His answer is spontaneous, without hesitation: the spit cake, black pork cold cuts, blueberry pie, country cheese, Gave trout… and grilled mutton chop accompanied by Tarbais beans. All washed down with Madiran, this great red wine from the southwest of the Pyrenees. Something to delight the most demanding palates!


Argelès-Gazost market   Argelès-Gazost market

Argelès-Gazost market


In addition to food products, stands of clothes, hats, decoration, jewelry and cosmetics blend into the decor of this market with a jovial and warm atmosphere. Here, all generations savor Tuesday mornings together, taking the time to stroll, to discuss, to share a coffee on a terrace in the sun, with the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees as a backdrop… Simple and authentic moments not to be missed!

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Practical information :

Argelès Gazost market

Every Tuesday morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

NB: The photos published in this report were taken before the health crisis. Wearing a mask is now compulsory on the market and tasting on site has been replaced by take-away until further notice.


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Photos and Article prepared by Lesley Williamson for the Guide de Toulouse Pyrénées


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