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Pyrénées-Atlantiques facts for kids

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The Chateau above the Gave de Pau
The Chateau de Pau above the Gave de Pau
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Pyrénées-Atlantiques in France
Location of Pyrénées-Atlantiques in France
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Département 4 March 1790
Prefecture Pau
Subprefectures Bayonne, Oloron-Sainte-Marie
 • Total 7,644.8 km2 (2,951.7 sq mi)
 • Total 664,057
 • Rank 36th
 • Density 86.8639/km2 (224.9764/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Béarnais or Basques
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code FR-64
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 27
Communes 547

Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Gascon: Pirenèus-Atlantics; Basque: Pirinio-Atlantiarrak or Pirinio-Atlantikoak) is a department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France. It takes its name from the Pyrenees mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.


Pyrénées-Atlantiques is one of the 83 French departments made during the French revolution, on 4 March 1790, with the name of Basses-Pyrénées. It was created from parts of the old provinces of Guyenne, Béarn, and Gascony.

The new department had six districts: Mauléon, Oloron, Orthez, Pau, Saint- Palais and Ustaritz.

The first prefecture was Navarrenx but then it was moved to Pau; in 1795, the prefecture was moved to Saint-Palais but in 1796 it was returned to Pau.

On 10 October 1969, the name of the department was changed from Basses-Pyrénées to Pyrénées-Atlantiques.


Pyrenees-Atlantiques topographic map-fr
Map of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Pyrénées-Atlantiques is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, southwestern France, and is the 10th French department in area with 7,644.8 km2 (2,952 sq mi).

There are two small territorial enclaves—a remnant from the Middle Ages— that are part of the neighboring Hautes-Pyrénées department.

The department is surrounded by the departments:

and by Spain to the south and the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean) to the west.

The Pyrenees mountain range is found in the southern part of the department and goes, east to west, from the Col d'Aubisque, a mountain pass 30 km (19 mi) south of Tarbes and Pau, to the mouth of the river Bidasoa.

The Pic Palas (42°50′58″N 0°18′48″E / 42.84944°N 0.31333°E / 42.84944; 0.31333 (Palas)), at 2,974 m (9,757 ft), is the highest point of the department and also the highest of the Aquitaine region; it is on the border with Spain.

The main river of the department is the Adour and all rivers in the department, except for some coastal small rivers, flow into this river. Other important rivers are the Gaves réunis, formed by the rivers Gave d'Oloron and Gave de Pau, and the Nive.


The climate of Pau is Marine West Coast Climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), with mild winters and warm summers.

The average temperature for the year in Pau is 13.5 °C (56.3 °F). The warmest month, on average, is July with an average temperature of 20.7 °C (69.3 °F). The coolest month on average is January, with an average temperature of 6.6 °C (43.9 °F).

The average amount of precipitation for the year in Pau is 1,051.6 mm (41.4 in). The month with the most precipitation on average is December with 104.1 mm (4.1 in) of precipitation. The month with the least precipitation on average is February with an average of 73.7 mm (2.9 in).

Climate data for Uzein (Pau), Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 84.9
Source: [1]


The department is managed by the General Council of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in Pau. Pyrénées-Atlantiques is part of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Administrative divisions

There are 3 arrondissements (districts), 27 cantons and 547 communes (municipalities) in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Arrondissement Capital Population
641 Bayonne Bayonne 285,761 2,270 125.9 123
642 Oloron-Sainte-Marie Oloron-Sainte-Marie 74,737 2,885 25.9 155
643 Pau Pau 303,559 2,490 121.9 269

The following is a list of the 27 cantons of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:

  1. Anglet
  2. Artix et Pays de Soubestre
  3. Baïgura et Mondarrain
  4. Bayonne-1
  5. Bayonne-2
  6. Bayonne-3
  7. Biarritz
  8. Billère et Coteaux de Jurançon
  9. Le Cœur de Béarn
  10. Hendaye-Côte Basque-Sud
  11. Lescar, Gave et Terres du Pont-Long
  12. Montagne Basque
  13. Nive-Adour
  14. Oloron-Sainte-Marie-1
  15. Oloron-Sainte-Marie-2
  16. Orthez et Terres des Gaves et du Sel
  17. Ouzom, Gave et Rives du Neez
  18. Pau-1
  19. Pau-2
  20. Pau-3
  21. Pau-4
  22. Pays de Bidache, Amikuze et Ostibarre
  23. Pays de Morlaàs et du Montanérès
  24. Saint-Jean-de-Luz
  25. Terres des Luys et Coteaux du Vic-Bilh
  26. Ustaritz-Vallées de Nive et Nivelle
  27. Vallées de l'Ousse et du Lagoin


The inhabitants of Pyrénées-Atlantiques are known as French: Basques et Béarnais (women: French: Basques et Béarnaises). The Basques live mainly in the western part of the department and the Béarnais in the eastern part. From 1790 to 1969, before the change of the name of the department, the inhabitants of this departmente were known as Bas-Pyrénéens.

The Pyrénées-Atlantiques has a population, in 2013, of 664,057, for a population density of 86.9 inhabitants/km2. The arrondissement of Pau, with 303,559 inhabitants, is by far the largest. The other two, Bayonne and Oloron-Sainte-Marie, have respectively 285,761 and 74,737 inhabitants.

The city with more people living in it is the capital, Pau (77,575). The subprefectures of Bayonne and Oloron-Sainte-Marie have, respectively, 47,492 and 10,794 inhabitants.

The main cities in the department are:

Petit Bayonne, a view across the Nive River
City Population
Pau 77,575 Pau
Bayonne (Basque: Baiona) 47,492 Bayonne
Anglet (Basque: Angelu) 39,184 Bayonne
Biarritz (Basque: Miarritze) 24,993 Bayonne
Hendaye (Basque: Hendaia) 16,887 Bayonne
Billère 13,479 Pau
(Basque: Donibane Lohitzun)
12,967 Bayonne
Lons 12,106 Pau
Oloron-Sainte-Marie 10,794 Oloron-Sainte-Marie
Orthez 10,569 Pau


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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Pirineos Atlánticos para niños

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