1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Arancou (Basque: Erengo) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in southwestern France.

It is located in the former province of Lower Navarre.



The Lauhirasse, a tributary of the Bidouze,[1] and the Baniou, a tributary of the Gave de Pau[2] cross this commune.


  • Garai
  • Le Burrou
  • Xabai

Bordering communes


The Gascon name for "Arancou" is Arancon; the Basque name is Erango.

The name Arancou appears in the forms Arranque (1119–1136),[3] Arancoen (13th century), Arancoey,[4] Arancoenh[4] (around 1360), Arrancoeynh,[4] Arancoinh[4] (1372), Aranquoen (1403, titles of Came[4]), and Aranco (1584, alienation of the Diocese of Dax[5]).

The name of Arancou comes from the Basque arangoien, for "higher valley".[6]



Tools from the Magdalenian era, one of the later cultures of the Upper Paleolithic era of Western Europe, were found in the Bourrouillan cave in the territory of Arancou. Several thousand bones from hunted animals were found in the cave, as well as thousands of flint and bone tools.[7]

Modern history

On January 1, 1973, the communes of Arancou, Bergouey, and Viellenave-sur-Bidouze were joined together. On 15 November 1977, Arancou regained its independent status, while Bergouey and Viellenave-sur-Bidouze remained together.

Arancou and Basque country

Jean-Baptiste Orpustan mentions Arancou in 1309 in a list of parishes paying dues to the royal power in Navarrenx.[8] Arancou was also mentioned by Eugène Goyheneche towards the end of the Middle Ages. He wrote that "because of the Gramont's power, [the situation of the neighboring parishes, including Arancou] is ambiguous." [9]

However, starting with the modern age, no evidence of Arancou's allegiance to the Kingdom of Navarre can be found. Nor is there evidence of any links to the dukedom of Gramont or of the sovereign principality of Bidache. The chapter of the collegiate Saint-Jacques de Bidache was the lord of the lands; the parish was situated in France in the administrative district of Lannes, where it came under the control of the administrative region of Hastingues.[10]

Although Arancou falls without a doubt within modern districting, it is nonetheless included in a list of the communes of Basse-Navarre.[11] While presenting the town in 2009 on his website, the mayor, Alexandre Bordes, did not take sides. Rather, he emphasized the "mix of deep-rooted cultures" and the "location of the town at the borders of Gascogne, Béarn, Basque Country, and the Navarre." His website describes the town as "basquo-béarnais." [12]


List of Mayors

Elected End of term Name
1995 2001 Alexandre Bordes
2001 2008 Alexandre Bordes
2008 2014 Alexandre Bordes


Arancou belongs to four different intercommunal territories:

  • The Collection of Communities in Pays de Bidache, Bidaxungo lurraldea in Basque, lo païs de Bidàishen in Gascon.
  • The Adour Syndicate
  • Syndicate AEP of Arancou - Bergouey-Viellenave - Bidache - Labastide-Villefranche
  • Syndicate for the department of electricity


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 336 —    
1800 353 +5.1%
1806 358 +1.4%
1821 357 −0.3%
1831 378 +5.9%
1836 379 +0.3%
1841 334 −11.9%
1846 378 +13.2%
1851 366 −3.2%
1856 331 −9.6%
1861 316 −4.5%
1866 310 −1.9%
1872 285 −8.1%
1876 306 +7.4%
1881 289 −5.6%
1886 263 −9.0%
1891 260 −1.1%
1896 265 +1.9%
1901 270 +1.9%
1906 275 +1.9%
1911 256 −6.9%
1921 239 −6.6%
1926 238 −0.4%
1931 224 −5.9%
1936 228 +1.8%
1946 205 −10.1%
1954 211 +2.9%
1962 192 −9.0%
1968 145 −24.5%
1975 124 −14.5%
1982 122 −1.6%
1990 122 +0.0%
1999 108 −11.5%
2006 92 −14.8%
2009 120 +30.4%


Arancou's economy is primarily agricultural. Arancou is part of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (a French regional certification) of the cheese, Ossau-Iraty.

There is a limestone quarry in Arancou. Until 1993, it provided the stone for the cemetery, Ciments de l'Adour, in Boucau. The stone was carried in barges down the Bidouze and Adour rivers.


Civil Heritage

  • Farms and houses from the 17th and 18th centuries,[13]
  • A house from the 18th century in the lieu-dit Chabay,[14]
  • The well, wash-house, and fountain of Garay.[15]

Religious Heritage

The church of l'Assomption-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie from the 8th century is listed as an historical monument.[16] The Gothic cathedral is located on the road, Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle (Via Turonensis). A wellspring runs underneath the church, feeding a washing-place in the basement. A Madonna called Notre-Dam-d'Arancou can be found in the church,[17] as well as an hilarri (a disk-shaped funeral stele) from Labets-Biscay,[18] and different furnishings registered in the inventory of the Minister of Culture (a tabernacle, font, and cross.) [19] The church also has a registered stained glass window.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Notice du Sandre sur Arancou[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ L'Ouhiras on the map of Cassini
  3. ^ Paul Raymond, Dictionnaire topographique Béarn-Pays basque
  4. ^ a b c d e Titles of the commune of Came - Departmental archives of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques
  5. ^ Registres d'aliénations - ancienne bibliothèque impériale - Bibliothèque nationale de France
  6. ^ Jean-Baptiste Orpustan, Nouvelle toponymie basque, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux 2006 p. 101
  7. ^ Christian Normand president of the association Euskarkeologia, a group of archaeological researchers in Basque Country, in Ouvrage collectif, Éditions Izpegi - 1992, ed., Amikuze - Le Pays de Mixe [Amikuze — the Country of Mixe] (in French), ISBN 2-909262-05-7 , page 50
  8. ^ Jean-Baptiste Orpustan (1979), "La Basse-Navarre en 1350 - IV - Le Pays de Mixe", Bulletin du Musée Basque (84): 86–88 
  9. ^ Eugène Goyheneche, Le Pays Basque, Société nouvelle d'éditions régionales et de diffusion, Pau, 1979, p. 139.
  10. ^ Jean Robert (1984), Des travaux et des jours en piémont pyrénéen : Bidache, Barenbach: Éditions Jean-Pierre Gyss, pp. 38 and 241, ISBN 2-902912-42-5 
  11. ^ It can be found, for example, on Euskaltzaindia's list of toponyms of Basque communes: Exonymie - Euskaltzaindia.
  12. ^ Alexandre Bordes (2009). "Official site of the commune of Arancou". Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  13. ^ [1] Ministère de la culture - Mérimée Ministère de la Culture, base Mérimée - Notices sur les fermes et maisons des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles]
  14. ^ Ministère de la Culture, base Mérimée - Notice sur la ferme de Chabay
  15. ^ Ministère de la Culture, base Mérimée - Notice sur les puits, lavoir et fontaine de Garay
  16. ^ Ministère de la Culture, base Mérimée - Notice sur l'église d'Arancou
  17. ^ Ministère de la Culture, base Palissy - Notice sur la Vierge à l'Enfant
  18. ^ Ministère de la culture, base Palissy - Notice sur la stèle discoïdale
  19. ^ Ministère de la Culture, base Palissy - Notice sur le mobilier de l'église
  20. ^ Ministère de la Culture, base Palissy - Notice sur la verrière de l'église

External links