Welcome to Saverdun

Location

The town's situation on dual-carriageway & train-line from Toulouse to Tarascon, means :

  • 45 minutes to Central Toulouse

  • 50 minutes to Toulouse & Carcassonne airports

  • Immediate access to the walking & cycling routes through the coteaux west of town

  • 30 minutes to the Englih 'hub' of Mirepoix (English speaking church etc), but at arm's length from its ghetto culture

  • 30 minutes to Foix 'county town'

  • 60 minutes to Ax-les-Thermes, with its ski-lift from the town centre

  • 90 minutes to the Plateau de Beille  cross-country skiing & snow-shoeing centre

  • 1 hour 45 minutes to : Andorra, Spanish border, Mediterranean...

History

  • Gaulish origin (name is Celtic for 'fortress on a height'). The former castle guarded the main crossing on the Ariège between Toulouse and Foix, and thus access to the County of Foix.

  • Roman cemetery of II-IVc discovered just N of town.

  • Simon de Montfort spent the night here before the game-changing Battle of Muret against the supporters of the Cathars (1213)

  • Pope Benedict XII (1334-42), who started construction of the Papal Palace at Avignon, was born in nearby Canté. Murals in the church depict scenes from his life.

  • Queen Catherine de Medici met the future King Henri IV here in 1579, agreeing that Saverdun would become a Protestant town. The Protestants subsequently destroyed the Catholic church, only to see their own knocked down some 50 yaers later, when Richelieu also ordered the demolition of the castle on the hill. 

  • The central Montréal quarter of Verdun was founded by a Saverdun native in the 1660s.

  • Banque courtois, now a 'south western' brand of the Soc Gen Group, was founded by a native of Saverdun in the 1770s.

  • Napaleonic General Jacques Sarrut, killed at the Battle of Vitoria (1808), was born in nearby Canté.

Public Services

  • Schools: crèche, nursery and primary schools large enough to be well-equipped, but still socially manageable; popular local-produce menu du terroir in canteen; Collège (11-16); Lycée Technique; application submitted to build generalist Lycée (nearest currently in Pamiers)

  • New medical centre with doctor and dental practices, nurses, physiotherapists etc, large pharmacy, 2 opticians. X-Ray centre in Pamiers(15 mins); 'county' hospital 20 mins.

  • Post office, notaire, tourist office. Nearest tax and social security offices in Pamiers (15 mins).

  • Electricity is generated from the river by the municipal régie; water is sourced from the river by the départemental water board, which also provides mains drainage to most propertie.

  • Mains gas is widely available; telephone and internet connections are good. Recycling centre.

  • Old people's home,handicapped centre.

Shopping

Although still relatively small, the population is growing, having increased from less than 3,600 in 1999 to nearly 5,000 in 2015 ; with over 500 pupils in the nursery & primary schools, there are quite a number of young people.

Local people are rather welcoming, many being only 2nd - 3rd - generation Ariégeois, their forebears having fled poverty in the Veneto after WWI, the Spanish Civil War or expulsion from Algeria after independance.

The community has benefitted since 2001 from a dynamic mayor (a local GP), who has made considerable improvements to business & social life, while keeping local taxes under control.

Although its historical position as the main crossing point on the Ariège between Toulouse and Foix once made it something of a ville-rue, with some unremarkable bungalow estates on the outskirts, Saverdun does possess a good number of attractive buildings, which are increasingly being renovated. The tree-lined Allées du Balouard are soon to be made more ramblas-like.

Several places with fine views of the Pyrenees. Climate drier than Foix, but less than Toulouse.

Vitality & welcome

Local business services

  • Plumbers, electricians, plasterers, painters, general builders, garden maintenance etc

  • Pool supply and service

  • New larger DIY centre opened April 2016 (Bricomarché)

  • Builders' merchants (Point P) and brickmakers (2)

  • 4 banks, insurance agent

  • Supermarkets: Intermarché (new, larger one opened April 2016), Lidl, Carrefour Express (also open lunch-time and Sunday).

  • Other shops: specialist vegetable, butcher, charcutier, 3 bakers,  pâtissier, chocolatier, wine shop, 2 clothes shop, 5 hairdressers, beautician, gun and fishing shop, doors/ windows/ gates, IT support, newsagent, florist, jeweller, photographer, driving school, undertaker, vet, garage, MOT

  • Market on Friday morning : top-class cheese stall, large fruit and veg stall, 2 butcher (1 from local farm), fishmonger, local producers of cheese, bread, honey etc

  • Further shops 15 minutes away in Pamiers: garden equipment, plant nursery, clothes, hats...

Leisure

  • Restaurants: 1 excellent (Grignothèque - see Facebook), 2 good (Oustalou [regional cuisine], Rital [pizza]), 4 other moderate ones (inc Vietnamese); 2 cafés

  • Sport: rugby (Fédérale 2 [4th division], 3 floodit pitches, stand, clubhouse), football, basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis (clay courts), badminton, swimming etc (in large covered pool), judo etc, kayaking on & along river, pétanque, gymnastics etc, fishing, cycling, running, walking clubs.

  • Cinema: large and comfortable; 4-5 showings per week, at least 6 per year in English; 6€. Also used for performances by local amateur dramatic and music groups. Large Salle des Fêtes.

  • 'Animation': Events organised or supported by the Mairie throughout the year include concerts (classic and modern), plays, exhibitions, musical festivals, chocolate fair, carthorse fair, annual fête.

  • Library. Art gallery, plus 2 further exhibitions spaces, often used by local art groups

  • Churches: Catholic (re-built 1648 - new organ 2016); Protestant (re-built 1823)