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Coordinates: 43°11′41″N 0°36′20″W / 43.1947222222°N 0.605555555556°W / 43.1947222222; -0.605555555556

Commune of Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Oloron SainteMarie Entree.JPG
Sainte-Marie Church
Location
Oloron-Sainte-Marie is located in France
Oloron-Sainte-Marie
Administration
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Arrondissement Oloron-Sainte-Marie
Intercommunality Piémont Oloronais
Mayor Hervé Lucbereilh
(2001–2008)
Statistics
Elevation 194–1,280 m (640–4,200 ft)
(avg. 220 m/720 ft)
Land area1 68.31 km2 (26.37 sq mi)
Population2 11,593  (2006)
 - Density 170 /km2 (440 /sq mi)
Miscellaneous
INSEE/Postal code 64422/ 64400
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Oloron-Sainte-Marie is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France. The town of Oloron-Sante-Marie is positioned at the junction of two rivers and has a population of approximately 12,000. Whilst not spectacular, it is a pleasant looking town, with an ancient quartier, Sainte Croix, containing the oldest Romanesque church in the Bearn region. This church, the Eglise Sainte Croix, has recently been fully restored, at considerable expense, and is worth a detour for those interested in such things, as is the tenth century cathedral in the centre of the town, with its carved stone entrance which is of such quality that it has been declared a world heritage site. Economically, Oloron is sustained by a mixture of agriculture, light industry and tourism. It contains one of the largest chocolate factories in Europe, and on warm summer evenings the town is often suffused with the smell of warm chocolate. The town stands on one of the ancient routes of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, so it is a well-known stopping place for walkers and modern-day pilgrims alike. As it stands on the edge of the Pyrenees, Oloron is also a centre and portal for many activities associated with the mountains: skiing, cycling, white water rafting, canyoning and rambling.

  • Capital of the "Haut Béarn".
  • Speciality: "le russe" (a flat cake).
  • Flag: two red cows on a yellow background.

Contents

Geography

The Gave d'Oloron is named after the town.

Neighboring communes: Esquiule, Moumour, Ledeuix, Estos, Cardesse, Monein, Goès, Précilhon, Escout, Herrère, Ogeu-les-Bains, Buziet, Arudy, Escot, Asasp-Arros, Lurbe-Saint-Christau, Eysus, Gurmençon, Bidos, Agnos, Ance and Féas.

Notable people

Oloron-Sainte-Marie was the birthplace of:

See also

References

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OLORON-SAINTE-MARIE, a town of south-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of BassesPyrenees, 21 m. S. W. of Pau on a branch of the Southern railway. It lies at the confluence of the mountain torrents (locally known as gaves) Aspe and Ossau, which, after dividing it into three parts, unite to form the Oloron, a tributary of the Pau. The united population of the old feudal town of Sainte-Croix or Oloron proper, which is situated on an eminence between the two rivers, of Sainte-Marie on the left bank of the Aspe, and of the new quarters on the right bank of the Ossau, is 7715. Oloron has remains of old ramparts and pleasant promenades with beautiful views, and there are several old houses of the 55th, 16th and 17th centuries, one of which is occupied by the hotel de ville. The church of Sainte-Croix, the building of most interest, belongs mainly to the 11th century; the chief feature of the exterior is the central Byzantine cupola; in the interior there is a large altar of gilded wood, constructed in the Spanish style of the 17th century. The church of Sainte-Marie, which formerly served as the cathedral of Oloron, is in the old ecclesiastical quarter of Sainte-Marie. It is a medley of various styles from the 11th to the 14th century. A square tower at the west end shelters a fine Romanesque portal. In the new quarter there is the modern church of Notre-Dame. Remains of a castle of the 14th century are also still to be seen. Oloron is the seat of a sub-prefect, and its public institutions include tribunals of first instance and of commerce, and a chamber of arts and manufactures. It is the most important commercial centre of its department after Bayonne, and carries on a thriving trade with Spain by way of the passes of Somport and Anso.

A Celtiberian and then a Gallo-Roman town, known as Iluro, occupied the hill on which Sainte-Croix now stands. Devastated by the Vascones in the 6th and by the Saracens in the 8th century, it was abandoned, and it was not until the 11th century that the quarter of Sainte-Marie was re-established by the bishops. In 1080 the viscount of Beam took possession of the old town. The two quarters remained distinct till the union of Beam with the crown at the accession of Henry IV. At the Reformation the place became a centre of Catholic reaction. In the 17th century it carried on a considerable trade with Aragon, until the Spaniards, jealous of its prosperity, pillaged the establishments of the Oloron merchants at Saragossa in 1694 - a disaster from which it only slowly recovered. The bishopric was suppressed in 1790.


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Simple English

Oloron-Sainte-Marie is a commune of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département in the southwestern part of France.


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