Aste-Béon 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 Astois et Béonais or Astoises et Béonaises.[1]


Aste-Béon is located in the heart of the Ossau Valley some 33 km south-east of Oloron-Sainte-Marie and 7 km north of Laruns. Access to the commune is by road D240 from Castet in the north passing south down the valley in the west of the commune through the village and continuing to Béost in the south. The D290 connects the village of Béon in the north-east to the D934 road which runs from north to south parallel to the commune's western border. Most of the commune is rugged mountains with substantial forests except for a narrow strip down the western side of the commune in the Ossau Valley where there is farmland.[2]

The Gave d'Ossau forms most of the western border of the commune as it flows north down the Ossau Valley eventually joining the Gave d'Aspe at Oloron-Sainte-Marie. The Lamay river rises in the east of the commune and flows west to join the Gave d'Ossau just south of the village. The Arrigast flows into the Gave d'Ossau from the left bank forming the northern border of the commune on that side of the river.[2]

Places and hamlets[3]

  • Grange l'Art
  • Aste
  • Béon
  • Boala d'Aste
  • Grange Borie
  • Chiperne
  • La Coumète
  • Le Coutchet
  • Dès (Barns)
  • Le Génébra
  • Grange Lavigne
  • Lourziou
  • Grange Loustalet
  • Grange d'Ourdou
  • Peyraube (Forest)
  • Le Port d'Aste
  • Le Port de Béon[4]
  • Pourteig
  • Grange Salle
  • Le Sarrat
  • Serres
  • Sers

Neighbouring communes and villages[2]


Church in Béon village
House in Béon village

The commune name in béarnais is Asta-Bion.

Michel Grosclaude said that the name Aste comes from the basque aitz/as ("rocky point").[5] He suggested that the name Béon comes from the pre-indo-European oronymic root *ben

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

Name Spelling Date Source Page Origin Description
Aste Aste 1385 Grosclaude Census Village
Asta 1487 Raymond
Béon Beoo 1328 Grosclaude Val de Tena Village
Beoo 1374 Raymond
Beoo 1385 Raymond
Beo de la Bag d'Ossau 1427 Raymond
Sent Felix de Béon 1654 Raymond
Béon 1750 Cassini Cassini Map
Le Port de Béon Le parsan du Port 1756 Raymond
Denombremont Hamlet


  • Raymond: Topographic Dictionary of the Department of Basses-Pyrenees, 1863, on the page numbers indicated in the table. (in French)[4]
  • Grosclaude: Toponymic Dictionary of communes, Béarn, 2006 (in French)[5]
  • Ossau: Notaries of Ossau[6]
  • Val de Tena: Treaty of Ossau - Val de Tena
  • Luntz: Contracts of Luntz[7]
  • Carresse: Contracts of Carresse[8]
  • Insinuations: Insinuations of the Diocese of Oloron[9]
  • Denombrement: Denombremont of Aste[10]
  • Cassini Map: Cassini Map from 1750[11]


In 1385 Aste had 18 fires and depended on the bailiwick of Ossau. In the same year Béon also had 18 fires and belonged to the same bailiwick. The fief of Béon depended on the Viscounts of Béarn.[4]


House in Aste-Béon village

List of Successive Mayors[12]

From To Name Party Position
1995 2001 Jean Vertut
2001 2014 Augustin Médevielle UMP
2014 2020 Jean-Michel Barrabourg

(Not all data is known)


The commune is part of three inter-communal structures:[13]

  • the Community of communes of the Ossau Valley;
  • the SIVU for the construction of the Retirement home in Haut-Ossau;
  • the joint association of Haut-Béarn;

The commune is part of the Pays d'Oloron et du Haut-Béarn.


In 2010 the commune had 283 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
473 244 483 323 520 610 564 597 605
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
604 588 606 465 475 471 482 443 414
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
400 410 371 356 331 344 324 271 275
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
267 235 196 211 159 231 246 283 -

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

Population of Aste-Béon


The economy of the commune has historically been orientated towards agriculture and livestock. The commuen is pat of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) zone of Ossau-iraty.

In 1769, Jean-Joseph d'Augerot, Chief Justice of the Parliament of Navarre built a foundry in the Ossau Valley at Béon. The foundry used minerals from old mines located at Aste.

Culture and heritage

Civil heritage

The Château of Béon
  • The Château of Béon (14th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg was occupied until the 17th century when it was abandoned until the 1980s. It remained the property of the House of Béon for all its history until its slow extinction in the 19th century. It is registered as a historical monument[14] and has been completely restored.

Religious heritage

The Church of Saint John the Baptist (19th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg at Aste is registered as a historical monument.[15]

It contains a Chalice (1654)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg which is registered as a historical object.[16]

Environmental heritage

A Natural reserve of nesting vultures was created by a Ministerial Decree of 11 December 1974 and is located across the territoris of Aste-Béon, Bielle, Bilhères, and Castet. The museum which is associated with it, called La Falaise aux Vautours,[17] is at the entrance to the village.

The Pène de Béon is 1,251 metres high.[3]

The commune is traversed from north to south by the GR of Pays du tour de la vallée d'Ossau.[3][18]

See also

External links

Notes and references


  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. ^ a b c Google Maps
  3. ^ a b c Géoportail, IGN (in French)
  4. ^ 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)
  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. ^ Notaries of Ossau in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  7. ^ Contracts retained by Luntz, Notary of Béarn in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  8. ^ Contracts retained by Carresse, Notary of Béarn, Manuscripts from the 15th century in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  9. ^ Manuscripts from the 17th century in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  10. ^ Manuscripts from the 17th and 18th centuries in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  11. ^ Cassini Map 1750 - Asson
  12. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  13. ^ Intercommunality of Pyrénées-Atlantiques Archived May 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Cellule informatique préfecture 64, consulted on 14 May 2012 (in French)
  14. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA64000053 Château of Béon (in French)
  15. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA64000527 Church of Saint John the Baptist (in French)
  16. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM64000057 Chalice (in French)
  17. ^ La Falaise aux Vautours website (in French)
  18. ^ The GRP on the Community of communes website Archived May 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in French)