Frontier France and Spain: Pyrénées mountains!

Let me go into something majestic. Now as a road warrior enthusiast I have been around some nice roads both in Europe and the Americas. However, to me nothing compares like the Pyrénées. The wonderful mountain chain that separates my beloved Spain and my adopted home France!

Let me tell you a bit more and update this old post in my blog. Bringing it out from the ashes sort of. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

They form a magnificent natural barrier of two wonderful countries which I love very much. I am from both, and have and live in one. They run for about 430 kms or 267 miles along the border. The highest peak is the Aneto at  3 404 meters or 11 233 feet.  On the northern slope, the Pyrenees stretches across the French regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie. On the southern slope by the Spanish autonomous communities of the Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon and Catalonia. The small country of Andorra is nestled in the mountain range. These mountains are home to peaks of more than 3000 meters of altitude, such as Aneto (3404 m), Posets (3375 m), Monte Perdido (3355 m), Pico Maldito (3350 m), Pico Espadas (3332 m) , Vignemale (3298 m), Balaitus (3144m) and Pica d’Estats (3143 m), small glaciers, lakes and cirques of glacial origin, and numerous valleys and canyons.  The climate of the Pyrenees is mountainous, with higher rainfall and lower temperatures than the surrounding territories. It also acts as a climatic border between the predominant oceanic climate in the northwest and the Mediterranean climate in the southeast (with continental nuances to the south).

The Pyrénées have over 4500 species of flora including 160 that are natives and hundred of thousands of fauna including over 300 species of butterflies.  You have many parks in the geography of the chain with the most famous to be the Parc National des Pyrénées , the parc National d’Aigûestortes, and Lake Saint Maurice at Encantats in France as well as the Parque Nacional de Ordessa, and Parque Nacional del Monte Perdido in Spain. To these you have the adjacent parks such as the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes and the Parc Naturel Régional Pyrénées Ariégeoises.

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Some of the historical dates that created, contained ,and enhance this wonderful area are noted below, history buffs go at it! I love it!

1213 Battle of Muret, victory of Simon de Montfort over a coalitions of Occitans lords, and death of king Peter II of Aragon who had a project to unite in a big State the occitano-Aragonais people.

1258 signature of Treaty of de Corbeil, established the frontiers between France and Aragon by Corbiéres and Capcir.

1276 creation of the kingdom of Majorca based at Perpignan.

1288 Signature by the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix for the co -Principality of Andorra. Protected by France and Spain.

1344 king Peter IV of Aragon annexed the Roussillon and Cerdagne with the frontier limit at Pas de Salses.

1375 establishment of the Junta of Roncal, creating laws for the passages in the valleys of Roncal (Aragon) and Barétous (Béarn).

1419 bishop of Urgell authorised the creation of the Autonomous council of Andorra.

1462 Treaty of Bayonne, king John 11 of Aragon  (the Faithless) gives the counties of Cerdagne and Roussillon to king Louis XI of France, these counties were gain back by Spain in 1493.

1512 kings of Aragon take over the high Navarra region and the Catalan possessions of the family of Foix-Béarn, the low Navarra remains French.

1607 annexation of Béarn and Navarra to the crown of France thanks to king Henry III of Navarra, which became king Henri IV of France in 1589.

1641 Treaty of Peronne, the king of France ,Louis XIII becames the new count of Barcelona, Roussillon ,and Cerdagne.

1642 Perpignan  surrenders to French troops of king Louis XIII. 1649 French troops occupies the Valley of Aran.

1652 The French leave Barcelona and renounce possession of Catalunya.

1659 Treaty of the Pyrénées on the ile of Faisans in Basque country is signed between France and Spain. With the marriage of Louis XIV and the regent Maria Teresa of Spain. The marriage took place in Saint Jean de Luz.

1660 the French and Spanish redraw the map to arrange for the frontiers of the two countries,and by 1663-66 the restitution of lands taken on both sides is given to owners .

1674 conspiration at Villefranche-de-Conflent and Perpignan in favor of the Spanish, and the Spanish forces entered the Roussillon.

1678 The French army goes into Cerdagne and destroy Puigcerdà, peace is signed between France and Spain again.

1784 creation of the International Commission   Caro-d’Ornano to cartographies the region and fix limits of boundary, interrupted for the war in 1792.

1790 creation of the French departments of Basses-Pyrénées(Pyrénées Atlantiques after 1969), Hautes Pyrénées, Haute Garonne,Ariége,Aude,and Pyrénées Orientales.

1793-1795 Spain entered in war against the French revolution.

1808-1813 passage of Napoleonic troops by the mountains in the Pyrénées towards conquering Spain (later repulse by the Spaniards in what they call Day of Independance May 2,and immortalised in paintings by Goya)

1856 first line of treaties to fix the boundaries again signed at Bayonne, the frontier is fix from the ocean to the Table des Trois Rois.

1862 second treaty of limits fixing the frontier from table de Trois Rois to port de Boet.

1866 third treaty of limits fixing frontier from Portella Blanca to the Mediterranean.

1868 Final act of  the frontier with 600 bornes place along the mountains along the edge of the La Bidasoa to Cap Cerbére, and 45 bornes around the village of Llivia in French Cerdagne.

1875 Creation of the International commission on limits or Commission of the Pyrénées that is in charge to enforce the boundary limits.

1912 opening of the train tunnel at Somport in the Valley of the Aspé (Béarn).

1928 opening of train station at Canfranc (Aragon) linking Toulouse with Barcelona.

1939 opening of French borders to thousands upon thousands of Spaniards fleeing the dictatorship of Franco in Spain. Mostly settling it around or in Toulouse.

1944 Franco builts the Linea P a line of bunkers over 450 kms (279 miles) to protect Spain from a French invasion.

1946-1948 closing of the Spanish borders.

1949 the commission of the Pyrénées meeting in Madrid ordered the counting of the bornes and lining of the frontiers as per the 19C drawing that had disappeared.

1970 closing of the railroad line between Bedous and Canfranc, and reduced over the portion Pau-Oloron-Sainte-Marie from 1980.

1973 France and Spain signed treaty to fix the frontiers, name delegates to enforce the limits, and the maintenance of  it.

1976 Opening of the first automobile tunnel between the two countries ,the tunnel of Bielsa-Aragnouet between the Valleys of Aure (Haute Pyrénées) and Cinca (Aragon).

1985 signing of the first Schengen agreement ratify by France and Spain in 1990.

1986 Spain entered the European Union.

1993 Customs postes are eliminated in the frontier. They were at Urdos on the French side! Remember passing and been inspected!

1998 Hendaye,Irun and Hondarribia form the first agglomeration of the region in the UE, name the consorcio bidasoa-Txingudi.

2003 opening of the Tunnel of Somport; and I tried it first yes!!! After going over the old route on first gear with an VW Golf! In 1990!!

2007-2009 piercing of the TGV tunnel of 8.3 km for the line Perpignan Barcelona that was operational by 2013! It is mix with train changing . Still changing at Figueres on the Spanish side and Perpignan on the French side.

Some webpages to help you enjoy and understand this wonderful mountain chain: the Pyrénées or Pirineos!

The Pyrénées ski tourism at  https://www.pyrenees-online.fr/en/

Ski info in the Pyrénées my fav site over the years in Spain and France:

Ski info for the Spanish side: https://www.onthesnow.co.uk/spain/ski-resorts.html

And Ski info for the French side: https://www.onthesnow.co.uk/france/ski-resorts.html

The parks of Ordesa and Monte Perdido: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/red-parques-nacionales/nuestros-parques/ordesa/

The parc naturel des Pyrénées: http://www.pyrenees-parcnational.fr/fr

The lakes on both sides in Spanish, French : https://www.lacsdespyrenees.com/en/index.html

Guide of the Spanish Pirineos:pyrénées in English: https://www.spain.info/en/discover-spain/pyrenees/

The official Commission of the Pyrenees in French/Spanish and others: https://ctp.org/fr/

And my favorites regions of France and Spain on the Pyrénées:

The region of Occitanie France on the Pyrénées: https://www.tourism-occitanie.co.uk/mountains/holidays-pyrenees

The region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine France on the Pyrénées: https://www.nouvelle-aquitaine-tourisme.com/en-us/pau-pyrenees/three-pearls-of-the-pyrenees

The Autonomous region of Aragon on the Pirineos of Spain: https://www.turismodearagon.com/en/aragon/pirineo-y-prepirineo/

The Autonomous region of Navarra on the Pirineos of Spain: https://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/Productos/pirineos-navarra.htm

And there you go folks you have a bookful of information to enjoy this wonderful part of Europe. My favorite mountain range, and i leave the road warrior sights in other posts with more pictures. Hope you enjoy the post as I do.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Frontier France and Spain: Pyrénées mountains!”

  1. Thank you for an interesting read. I love living in the Pyrénées and am fascinated by the history here

    Liked by 1 person

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