Aren is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Arenais or Arenaises.[1]


A Wayside Cross in Aren

Aren is located some 14 km north-west of Oloron-Sainte-Marie immediately south of Saucède. The commune is divided into two portions - the eastern portion contains the village and is bordered in the north and east by the Gave d'Oloron. This portion is connected to the western part located to the west of the Joos river by the D325 road (which is part of the commune). Access to the commune is by the D936 road which crosses the "neck" of the commune and connects to the D325 road which goes east to the village. The D59 road also goes from the village south-west to Saint-Goin. The D25 also connects the "neck" of the commune to Préchacq-Josbaig in the north and crosses the Gave-d'Oleron north of this village - the nearest river crossing to the commune.[2] The eastern portion of the commune consists of the village and farmland. The western portion, which has no hamlets, is heavily forested with some 30% of farmland.

Aren was part of the former arrondissement which grouped together the communes of Aren, Esquiule, Géronce, Geüs-d'Oloron, Orin, Préchacq-Josbaig, and Saint-Goin.[3]

The commune lies in the Drainage basin of the Adour and the Gave d'Oloron flows from south to north then turns east at the northern border of the commune. The Joos river flows north across the "neck" of the commune and joins the Gave-d'Oloron north of Prechacq-Josbaig. In the western portion of the commune numerous streams rise including the Ibarle and the Larribau which all flow north eventually to join the Gave d'Oloron.

Places and Hamlets

  • Arnabaigt
  • Arroutis
  • Bagolle
  • Bugala
  • La Campagne de Préchacq
  • Estremeres
  • Hippolyte
  • Lannes
  • Larraillet
  • Loustalet
  • Mirande
  • La Naü
  • Puheu
  • Tatieu
  • Vital

Neighbouring communes and villages


The commune name in béarnais is also Aren. Brigitte Jobbé-Duval[4] indicated that the toponym Aren probably means domain of Arrius, the name of a former owner, who Michel Grosclaude called Arennius.[5]

The following table details the origins of the commune name and other names in the commune.

Name Spelling Date Source Page Origin Description
Aren Aren 1209 Raymond
Oloron Village
Aren 1251 Grosclaude
Aren 1385 Grosclaude Census
Saint-Jean-d'Aren 1608 Raymond
Aren 1750 Cassini
Le Castet Le Castet 1538 Raymond
Reformation Fief, Vassal of the Viscounts of Béarn




Paul Raymond noted on page 9 of his 1863 dictionary that in 1385 Aren had 23 fires and depended on the bailiwick of Oloron. The barony, which was established in 1658, was a vassal of the Viscounts of Béarn.[3] In popular culture the rightful aire to Aren is Aren Aghamanoukian.


The Town Hall

List of Successive Mayors[11]

From To Name Party Position
1983 2008 Jean Mirande
2008 2011 Gérard Hazas
2011 2020 David Mirande

(Not all data is known)


The town is part of four inter-communal structures:

  • the Community of communes of Josbaig;
  • the AEP association of Aren-Préchacq-Josbaig;
  • the energy association of Pyrénées-Atlantiques;
  • the mixed association for oak forestry in the Basque and Béarn valleys.


In 2009 the commune had 207 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
337 339 358 391 320 345 356 385 368
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
378 322 300 270 283 300 301 298 286
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
282 279 283 270 253 220 218 211 202
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2009 -
175 154 143 158 185 180 190 207 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Aren War Memorial
Population of Aren

Aren is part of the urban area of Oloron-Sainte-Marie.


Economic activity is mainly agricultural (livestock, pasturage, polyculture). The town is part of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) zone designation of Ossau-iraty.

Culture and Heritage

The patron saint of Aren is John the Baptist.

A village festival takes place on the last Sunday of June .

Civil heritage

The Chateau of Aren

The Chateau of Aren (15th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg is registered as an historical monument.[12]

Old House in Aren
Old House in Aren

There are several old houses in the village which were counted in the census of Gaston Fébus in 1385 called Ploo, Carrere, and Paletz. Under the Viscounts of Béarn the inhabitants of Jaca were relocated to the commune and the mode of construction of the houses, uniquely in the Josbaig Valley, is similar to the Canfrance region and Jaca.[13]

Religious heritage

The Church of Saint John the Baptist

The Church of Saint John the Baptist (19th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg is registered as an historical monument.[14]

Environmental heritage

The hiking trail GR78 crosses the territory of the commune.[15]

Notable people linked to the commune

  • Aren Stinger

See also


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ Inhabitants of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  2. ^ Google Maps
  3. ^ a b c Topographic Dictionary of the Department of Basses-Pyrenees, Paul Raymond, Imprimerie nationale, 1863, Digitised from Lyon Public Library 15 June 2011 (in French)
  4. ^ Brigitte Jobbé-Duval, Dictionary of placenames - Pyrénées-Atlantiques, 2009, Archives and Culture, ISBN 978-2-35077-151-9 (in French)
  5. ^ a b Michel Grosclaude, Toponymic Dictionary of communes, Béarn, Edicions reclams & Édition Cairn - 2006, 416 pages, ISBN 2-35068-005-3 (in French)
  6. ^ Cassini Map 1750 – Aren
  7. ^ Cartulary of the Oloron, published in the History of Béarn by Pierre de Marca (in French)
  8. ^ Manuscript from the 14th century - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  9. ^ Manuscripts from the 17th century in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  10. ^ Manuscript from the 16th to 18th centuries - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  11. ^ List of Mayors of France
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00084314 Chateau of Aren (in French)
  13. ^ Sign in the Village
  14. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA64000614 Church of Saint John the Baptist (in French)
  15. ^ Géoportail, IGN (in French)

External links