The local area - Rivel is nestled in a green rolling valley close to the foothills of the Pyrenees - click here to see pictures of this area
Shopping - Opening hours in France, particularly in the rural towns and villages, are rather different to those in big cities. Most shops open around 9am, close for an extended lunch at around 12.30am and re-open around 2.30pm or 3pm, staying open to 7.00pm or 7.30pm. Most, except bakeries, are closed on Sundays. Some of the larger supermarket chains stay open throughout the day. Some are now open Sunday morning. See information on Large Supermarkets.
The village of Rivel has no shops, only the post office in the centre, though a small van delivers bread daily. It drives into the middle of the village in the morning and beeps its horn.
The nearest shops - These are located in Chalabre a few minutes away. As you drive into the small town from Rivel on the left there is a small supermarket, the 8 a Huit (8 till 8), which is well stocked with all the basics; food, wine and household goods. It closes for several hours in the middle of the day! Open Sunday mornings in the season. This can be a bit variable! Flashing sign outside shows if it’s open.
In the town itself there are 2 bakeries that are open very early in the morning - including Sunday. The large bakery is shut on Wednesdays. There are also 2 butchers, a vegetable shop and another small supermarket. You will also find a bank with cash point, a pharmacy, a hairdresser, a florist and a newsagent that sells maps of the area. Most of these are situated on the ‘Cours’, the little road that loops round the centre of what was originally a fortified town. Wander up some of the little lanes into the centre around the old market hall and you will find other shops.
Most of the small villages around have their own small village stores and/or bakeries with their own opening times but they are usually closed at lunchtime. There is a small village shop in St Colombe sur L’Hers and a larger PROXI supermarket in La Bastide Sur L’Hers (Closed Mondays).
Markets and Vide Greniers - Most towns have a weekly market where you can buy fresh local produce. Many are only in the morning. Some local ones are:
- Monday – Mirepoix - main market day. Morning. Worth a visit! Probably the best in the area.
- Tuesday – Bélesta.
- Wednesday – Lavelanet (produce only), Quillan and Puivert (also in the evening in summer).
- Thursday – Laroque d’Olmes, Bélesta, Mirepoix (small farmers market) and Espéraza.
- Friday – Limoux and Lavelanet (Morning).
- Saturday – Chalabre (very small.), La Bastide Sur l’Hers and Laroque d’Olmes (morning) and Quillan.
- Sunday –Morning - Espéraza.
www.jours-de-marche.fr (Click on Ariege and Aude on map)
Vide Grenier (meaning 'empty attic') is the local equivalent of a British 'car boot sale' – so look out for the signs as they are not on regular dates.
Bank - Nearest is Crédit Agricole in Chalabre. It has a cash point.
Post office - There is one in Rivel with limited opening hours and one in Chalabre on the way out towards Limoux by the bridge crossing the river.
Tourist office - Chalabre - situated on the Cours next to a little parking area. It has INTERNET ACCESS. Brochures about the area and events are available here..
Petrol station - Several in Lavelanet, Mirepox and Limoux. Small un-manned petrol station on the right as you go into Chalabre.
Doctor and Dentist -