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


Athos-Aspis is located immediately to the north-west of Sauveterre-de-Béarn and just east of Abitain. Access to the commune is by the D27 road from Sauveterre-de-Béarn passing through the east of the commune and going north to Oraas. Access to the village can be by several country roads from the D27 including Arriouteque going to Lespitaou and also the Village road. Apart from the village there is the hamlet of Aspis in the south of the commune. There are significant forests in the east of the commune with the rest farmland.[1]

The Gave d'Oloron forms the whole southern and eastern borders of the commune as it flows north to join the Gave de Pau at Peyrehorade. The Arriouyeque flows from the east of the commune through the centre to join the Gave d'Oloron on the western border. The Ruisseau de Rance rises just east of the commune and flows south-west to join the Arriouteque. The Arrec Heure forms most of the northern border of the commune as it flows west to join the Gave d'Oloron at the north-western corner of the commune.[1]

Places and hamlets[2]

  • Aspis
  • Athos
  • Bouchou
  • Cabé[3]
  • Les Camous
  • La Campagne
  • La Campagnole
  • Castet
  • Cossou
  • Couteigt
  • Desbos (barns)
  • Esperben
  • Gabirot
  • Garampoey
  • Les Garbas
  • Gué
  • Hau
  • Herrou
  • Héuré (mill)
  • Houssas
  • Labourdette
  • Lapeyrigne
  • Lapisque
  • Lavielle
  • Mina (côte de)
  • Mouliède
  • Mousquères
  • Natou
  • Peyrou
  • Poun Agnès
  • Pys[3]
  • Rioutèque[3]
  • Sarrecaute[3]
  • L'Usine


The commune name in béarnais is Atos-Aspins.

For Athos Michel Grosclaude proposed the patronym Ato with the Aquitaine suffix -ossum. For Aspis Michel Grosclaude proposed a Gascon etymology es pins meaning "the pines".[4]

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

Name Spelling Date Source Page Origin Description
Athos Atos 11th century Raymond
Marca Village
Atos 1119-1136 Grosclaude Cartulary
Sent Per d'Atos 1472 Raymond
Atos 1745 Grosclaude Notaries
Athos 1750 Cassini
Atos 1790 Cassini2
Aspis Espis 1119-1136 Orpustan Cartulary Village
Espis 1385 Raymond
Espiis 1544 Raymond
Aespiis 1546 Raymond
Spiis 1548 Raymond
Aspis 1750 Cassini
Cabé la maison deu Cabee 1538 Raymond
Reformation Fief (Vassal of the Viscounts of Béarn)
lo Caver d'Atos 1538 Raymond
lo Caber 1548 Raymond
Pys Piis-Jusoo 1385 Raymond
Census Fief (Vassal of the Viscounts of Béarn)
Piis-Susoo 1385 Raymond
Dues maysons aperades los Piis 1538 Raymond
Rioutèque L'arriu de Ariuteca 1538 Raymond
Reformation Stream
Le Riutèque 1863 Raymond
La Salle La Salle d'Athos 1385 Raymond
Census Fief (Vassal of the Viscounts of Béarn)
La Sala d'Athos 1538 Raymond
Sarrecaute Sarrecaute 1385 Raymond
Census Farm
Serracaute 1614 Raymond




Paul Raymond noted on page 16 that in 1385 Athos had 19 fires and depended on the Bailiwick of Sauveterre as did the fief of Aspis as noted on page 15.[3]

The villages of Athos and Aspis were united into one commune on 10 January 1842.[3]

During the Reformation the Priest at Athos was murdered in his church and the village adopted the new ideas.

Athos is the birthplace of Athos, one of the title characters in the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. The fictional Athos is named after the historical musketeer Armand de Sillègue d'Athos d'Autevielle (1615–1644), youngest son of Adrien de Sillègue, Lord of Athos and Autevielle. Autevielle is another nearby village in the commune of Autevielle-Saint-Martin-Bideren.


List of Successive Mayors[13]

From To Name Party Position
1995 2008 Jean-Robert Lataillade
2008 2014 Jean-Michel Peyruseigt
2014 2020 Jean-Robert Lataillade

(Not all data is known)


The commune is part of five inter-communal structures:[14]

  • the inter-communal centre for social action of Sauveterre-de-Béarn;
  • the Community of communes of Sauveterre-de-Béarn;
  • the inter-communal association for rivers and of Saleys;
  • the AEP association of Sauveterre-de-Béarn;
  • the Energy association of Pyrénées-Atlantiques;


In 2010 the commune had 185 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
416 418 488 515 332 440 421 438 434
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
390 367 351 337 357 400 373 338 328
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
325 326 314 303 290 291 249 236 217
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
209 213 203 201 197 203 189 185 -

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

Population of Athos-Aspis

From 1793 to 1836 the communes of Athos and Aspis were separate but the above table shows the total for both communes during that period.


Economic activity is mainly agricultural. The commune is part of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) zone of Ossau-iraty.

Remains of the Château of Athos-Aspis, where the musketeer Athos lived

Culture and heritage

Civil heritage

There are the houses of Lascampagnes, the consul Gourlat, and of Bouchoô the place where Monsigneur Bouchoô was born.

Aspis has a château from the 14th century facing the Gave d'Oloron with a terrace and a door to the garden. There is also the site of an old church and the old school.

At Athos there is a church of Romanesque origin in the old fief of Moliède d'Athos where there was a well-known ferry and ruins of a mill.

Religious heritage

Church of Saint-Pierre
Entrance to the church

The Church of Saint-Pierre is of Romanesque origin and contains a renaissance stoup and a Statue on the Virgin in coloured wood. Behind the Altar is the tomb of Jeanne du Peyrer "Lady of Athos and Aspis" and mother of the musketeer. The renaissance door has a stone carving from the 14th century upside down (it was probably a stone that was reused).

The cemetery has the tomb of the design engineer of the Sauveterre bridge and also that of Edmond Gourlat, consul of France and local personality.

Notable people linked to the commune

The birth of the musketeer Athos in the commune is debatable. A plaque near the church says that he was born in the Lassalle house where only parts of walls remain but the village of Autevielle also claims his birth in the fortified house of Moliède d'Athos which has some remains of strong walls.

Athos was the birthplace of Jean-Baptiste Boucho, born in the Bouchoô house in 1797, French Apostolic vicar of the Malay peninsula.


  • History of Athos and Aspis, Alexis Ichas (in French)

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. ^ a b c Google Maps
  2. ^ Géoportail, IGN (in French)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Topographic Dictionary of the Department of Basses-Pyrenees, Paul Raymond, Imprimerie nationale, 1863, Digitised from Lyon Public Library 15 June 2011 (in French)
  4. ^ a b Michel Grosclaude, Toponymic Dictionary of communes, Béarn, Edicions reclams & Édition Cairn - 2006, 416 pages, ISBN 2 35068 005 3 (in French)
  5. ^ Jean-Baptiste Orpustan, New Basque Toponymy, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2006, ISBN 2 86781 396 4 (in French)
  6. ^ Cassini Map 1750 - Aspis
  7. ^ Cassini Map 1790 - Aspit
  8. ^ Pierre de Marca, History of Béarn (in French)
  9. ^ Cartulary of the Abbey of Saint-Jean de Sorde published in extracts in the proofs of the History of Béarn by Pierre de Marca (in French)
  10. ^ Notaries of Labastide-Villefranche in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  11. ^ Manuscript from the 14th century - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  12. ^ Manuscript from the 16th to 18th centuries - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  13. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  14. ^ Intercommunality of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Cellule informatique préfecture 64, consulted on 7 July 2012 (in French)