Pyrénées-Atlantiques (French pronunciation: [piʁene atlɑ̃tik] (listen); Gascon and Occitan: Pirenèus Atlantics; Basque: Pirinio Atlantiarrak or Pirinio Atlantikoak) is a department in the southwest corner of France and of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Named after the Pyrenees mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, it covers the French Basque Country and the Béarn. Its prefecture is Pau. In 2017, it had a population of 677,309.
|• President of the Departmental Council||Jean-Jacques Lasserre (MoDem)|
|• Total||7,645 km2 (2,952 sq mi)|
|• Density||89/km2 (230/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2|
Originally named Basses-Pyrénées, it is one of the first 83 departments of France created during the French Revolution, on 4 March 1790. It was created out of parts belonging to the former greater province of Guyenne and Gascony, as well as the Béarn-Navarre (still, at least nominally, Kingdom of Navarre), meaning the Basques provinces of Basse-Navarre, Labourd, Bayonne (detached a few years before from Labourd) and Soule, as well as Béarn.
The 1790 administrative design brought about the end of native institutions and laws. All Basque estates representatives from Labourd overtly opposed the new administrative layout since it suppressed their institutions and laws. The representatives of Lower Navarre refused to vote in Paris arguing that they were not part of the Kingdom of France; those of Soule voted against. The brothers Garat, representing Labourd, eventually voted yes, thinking that it would give them a say in upcoming political decisions.
On 10 October 1969, Basses-Pyrénées was renamed Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
Pyrénées-Atlantiques is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of Southwestern France. It is bordered by the Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Gers departments and the Bay of Biscay. Principal settlements include Pau, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Orthez, Biarritz, Bayonne, Anglet, Urrugne, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Hendaye. Lac Gentau is located in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, as are the Lacs de Carnau.
Population development since 1801:
Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a border department, has cultivated a number of economic and cultural links with Spain.
Two urban concentrations exist in the east and west of the department: Pau, which has 145,000 inhabitants and 344,000 workers in the local area; and Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz which has 166,400 inhabitants and 235,000 workers in the local area.
The department is known for its tourism industry:
Villa Belza in Biarritz
The parts of the department that were part of Guyenne and Gascony, as well as Béarn, have a culture heavily influenced by the Basques, but clearly different identities.
Both the Gascon Bearnese variant and Basque language are indigenous to the region in their respective districts. Gascon in turn is a dialect of Occitan, formerly the main language of southern France. It is more closely related to Catalan than it is to French. Basque is a language isolate, not related to any known language. Today, French, the sole official language of the French Republic, is the predominant native language and is spoken by virtually all inhabitants.
Pyrénées-Atlantiques is also home to a number of professional sports teams, including rugby union football clubs Aviron Bayonnais, Biarritz Olympique and Section Paloise; basketball club Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez; and association football club Pau FC.
The coat of arms of Pyrénées-Atlantiques combines those of four traditional provinces:
- The history of the region, under the Ancien Régime, can be found in the articles about those individual regions.
- Site sur la Population et les Limites Administratives de la France
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article "Basses-Pyrénées".|
- (in French) General Council website
- (in French) Archives of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques department website
- (in French) Photography Panoramics 360° website
- (in French) Prefecture official website
- (in English) Pyrenees-Atlantiques at Curlie
- (in English) Pyrenees-Atlantiques Monuments, Villages, Walks and Attractions
- (in English) Information on living, working and visiting Pyrenees Atlantiques