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The Town Hall at Aroue
The Town Hall at Aroue
Aroue-Ithorots-Olhaïby is located in France
Coordinates: 43°19′09″N 0°54′59″W / 43.3192°N 0.9164°W / 43.3192; -0.9164Coordinates: 43°19′09″N 0°54′59″W / 43.3192°N 0.9164°W / 43.3192; -0.9164
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Arrondissement Bayonne
Canton Saint-Palais
Intercommunality Amikuze
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-Pascal Barneix
 • Land1 17.85 km2 (6.89 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Population2 245
 • Population2 density 14/km2 (36/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 64049 / 64120
Elevation 89–231 m (292–758 ft)
(avg. 114 m or 374 ft)

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.

Aroue-Ithorots-Olhaïby (Basque: Arüe-Ithorrotze-Olhaibi) is a French commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Aquitaine region of south-western France.


The Church of Saint-Étienne of Aroue in the morning sun.
The Church Tower.
Hilarri in the cemetery in Aroue.
Hilarri in the cemetery in Aroue.
View of the hamlet of Ithorots, the church, and the fronton with a glimpse of the chateau in the background.
The church at Ithorots.
The Chapel at Olhaïbe.

Aroue-Ithorots-Olhaïby is located in the former Basque province of Soule some 10 km east of Saint-Palais and 10 km south of Sauveterre-de-Béarn. Access to the commune is by the D11 road from Domezain-Berraute in the west passing through the west fork of the commune then Etcharry then the east fork and the village before continuing south-east to Charritte-de-Bas. The commune is mixed forest and farmland.[1]

Located in the Drainage basin of the Adour, the commune is traversed from south to north by the Lafoure (a tributary of the Saison) with its tributary the Hourquet and the Lauhirasse with its tributary the Thiancoenia erreka.[1]

Places and Hamlets[2][edit]

  • Abbadie (château)
  • Aïntcia
  • Aitzaguer
  • Aroue
  • Bagardoy
  • Bartulague[3]
  • Begorre
  • Beheria
  • Benoscar (Forest)
  • Bentaberria
  • Berhon
  • Berrogain
  • Bethe
  • Bidauria
  • Bohoteguia
  • Bouhaben
  • Carriquiry
  • Ertorraenia
  • Etchebarnia
  • Etcheberria
  • Etchecoin
  • Etchelecu
  • Etchemborde
  • Eyherabide
  • Garay
  • Guestereguia
  • Hagoua
  • Harguina
  • Harguinaborda
  • Ithorots
  • Jaureguiberria
  • Joantho (château)
  • Landaco
  • Landuchia
  • Larraburuzahar
  • Larrartia
  • Lassartia
  • Linchinbiague
  • Mendiburia
  • Mendicoi
  • Mendionde
  • Metcha (Mill)
  • Olhaïby
  • Olhassaria[3]
  • Oxaïby
  • Oxart
  • Oxidoya
  • Oyhamburia
  • Oyhenart-Chipi
  • Oyhençabal
  • Pagueguy
  • Poulit
  • Quillilauquy
  • Salla
  • Sallagaray
  • Saubidet

Neighbouring communes and villages[1][edit]



The name Aroue appears in the forms:

  • Aroe (1337[4]),
  • Aroa (1385,[3] Duchesne Collection Vol. 114[5]),
  • Aroe and Sent Stephen d'Aroe (respectively[3] 1460 and 1469, Contracts of Ohix[6]),
  • Degaierie de Aroa (1520[4]), and
  • Aroue (1690[4]).

The name Abbadie was mentioned in 1863[3] and comes from the Lay abbey of Ithorots, vassal of the Viscounts of Soule.

Bartulague was a farm in Ithorots-Olhaïby, previously mentioned with the spellings Bairulague (1477,[3] Contracts of Ohix[6]) and Barhulague (1863[3]).

Béloscar was a farm at Aroue mentioned by the Contracts of Ohix[6] in 1496.[3]


The name Ithorots appears in the forms:

  • Ithorrodz (1337[4]),
  • Uthorrotz (1469[4]),
  • Itorrotz, Utorrotz, Uturrotz and Ytorrotz (respectively[3] 1469, 1478, around 1480 and 1482, Contracts of Ohix[6]),
  • Uthurrotz (1480[4]),
  • Yptorrotz and Iptorrotz (1690[4]),
  • Ithorrots (1793[7]) or Year II, and
  • Ittorolz (1801,[7] Bulletin des Lois).

The hydronym Lafaure appears in the forms:

  • la Phaura in 1538[3] (Reformation of Béarn[8]), and
  • la Phaure in 1863.[3]

The name Olhaïbi appears in the forms:

  • Olhaivie (1308[4]),
  • Olhabie (1375,[3] Contracts of Luntz[9]),
  • Olƒabie (1376,[3] Military inspection of Béarn[10]),
  • Olhaibie and Olhabia (respectively[3] 1385 and 1407, Duchesne Collection Vol. 114[5]),
  • Olhayvi (1496,[3] Contracts of Ohix[6]),
  • Olharby (1563,[3] Confession of Languedoc[11]),
  • Olhayby and Olhaybié (1690[4]), and
  • Olhaiby (1793[12] or Year II).

Olhassaria was a fief of Aroue, vassal of the Viscounts of Soule, mentioned with the spellings:

  • Olhassari (17th century,[3] Titles of Arthez-Lassalle[13]), and
  • Olhassarry (1863[3]).

Jean-Baptiste Orpustan[4] indicated that Ithorots possibly signified "source of cold water" and Olhaïby "the ford of the huts".

Basque spelling

The commune's name in basque is Arüe-Ithorrotze-Olhaibi.[14]


Paul Raymond[3] noted that Aroue was one of the seven districts of Soule and depended on the messagerie of Barhoue.

There was a Lay Abbey at Ithorots[3] vassal of the Viscounts of Soule.

The fief of Olhaïby was a vassal of the Viscounts of Soule and its owner was one of ten potestats of Soule.[3]

The commune had a "Temple of Reason" during the French Revolution, undoubtedly because the in the béarnais region, Aroue was the only basque commune to adopt the Jacobin anti-religion policy.

Between 1790 and 1794, Ithorots commune was merged[7] with Olhaïby to form the new commune of Ithorots-Olhaïby. On 1 August 1973 (by prefectural order of 20 July 1973), the commune of Aroue merged with Ithorots-Olhaïby to form the new commune of Aroue-Ithorots-Olhaïby.


List of Successive Mayors[15]

From To Name Party Position
1953 2001 Franz Duboscq
2001 2008 Marcel Gégu
2008 2014 Jean-Pascal Barneix

(Not all data is known)


The commune is part of eight inter-communal structures:[16]

  • the Community of communes of Amikuze;
  • the AEP association of Pays de Mixe;
  • the AEP association of Pays de Soule;
  • the educational regrouping association of Arbérats-Sillègue, Arbouet-Sussaute, Aroue, and Etcharry;
  • the Energy association of Pyrénées-Atlantiques;
  • the inter-communal association for the functioning of schools in Amikuze;
  • the joint forestry association for oaks in the Basque and béarnais valleys;
  • the association to support Basque culture.


In 2009 the commune had 245 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]

Evolution of the Population (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
464 379 543 509 514 555 535 500 506
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
506 466 393 400 402 368 340 355 352
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
328 345 326 268 277 254 249 270 265
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2009 -
268 223 286 249 254 230 246 245 -

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

Population of Aroue-Ithorots-Olhaïby


The town is part of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) zone of Ossau-iraty.

Culture and Heritage[edit]

Civil heritage[edit]

The village has architecture typical of the eastern Basque Country: gable roofs covered with tiles, whitewashed walls with houses from the 16th century.

As in many Basque villages, the fronton is adjacent to the church.

Religious heritage[edit]

The town lies on the GR 65. It is at the beginning of the 7th section of the GR which is listed by UNESCO as World Heritage. The presentation file to UNESCO locates the commune on the Via Podiensis on the Way of St. James. There is no real historical justification for this but it is an important fact for this small town. Justification was found by Dr. Urrutibetehy, the pioneer who traced the paths in the region (it was he who set up the so-called Stele of Gibraltar and made a point of convergence of these paths). He saw in the horseman shown on the lintel of the door of the sacristy, a representation of Saint Jacques Matamoros.

  • The Church of Saint-Étienne[17] at Aroue is a Romanesque church rebuilt in the 19th century. There is a sculpture from the 12th century of Saint Jacques on a horse, a Spanish image of "Matamoro".
  • The Church of Saint-Samson[18] at Ithorots dates to the 19th century.
  • The Church at Olhaïby has furniture from the 18th century inventoried by the Ministry of Culture:[19]
    • a Retable over the main altar (18th century)[20]
    • a candlestick (17th century)[21]
    • an altar cross (18th century)[22]
    • a tabernacle at the main altar (18th century)[23]
    • a candlestick (18th century)[24]
    • Statuettes (18th century)[25]
    • a Painting The Martyrdom of Saint Cyr and Saint Judith (18th century)[26]
    • a processional cross (18th century)[27]

Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

  • Franz Duboscq, born in Saint-Jean-de-Luz in 1924, MP and senator, former president of the council and mayor of the town until 2001.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002, 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 in 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ a b c Google Maps
  2. ^ Géoportail, IGN, consulted on 2 March 2012 (French)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Paul Raymond, Topographic Dictionary Béarn-Basque Country, 1863 (French)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jean-Baptiste Orpustan, New Basque Toponymy, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2006, ISBN 2 86781 396 4 (French)
  5. ^ a b Duchesne Collection, volumes 99 to 114, papers retained by Oihenart, former Imperial librarian - Bibliothèque nationale de France (French)
  6. ^ a b c d e Contracts retained by Ohix, Notary of Soule - Manuscript from the 15th century - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (French)
  7. ^ a b c Ithorots on the Cassini website (French)
  8. ^ Manuscript of the 16th to the 18th centuries - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (French)
  9. ^ Contracts retained by Luntz, Notary of Béarn - Manuscript from the 14th century - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (French)
  10. ^ Manuscript of 1376 - Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (French)
  11. ^ Confession of Languedoc, Archives of the Empire (French)
  12. ^ Page on Olhaïby on the Cassini project of EHESS website
  13. ^ Titles of the Arthez-Lassalle family at Tardets
  14. ^ Euskaltzaindia - Academy of the Basque language (Basque)
  15. ^ List of Mayors of France (French)
  16. ^ Intercommunality of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Cellule informatique préfecture 64, consulted on 2 March 2012 (French)
  17. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice IA64000685 Church of Saint-Étienne (French)
  18. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice IA64000692 Church of Saint-Samson (French)
  19. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000539 Furniture in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  20. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000546 Retable at the main Altar in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  21. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000545 Candlestick the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  22. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000544 Altar Cross in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  23. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000543 Tabernacle in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  24. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000542 Candlestick in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  25. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000541 Statuattes in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  26. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000540 Furniture in the Church at Olhaïby (French)
  27. ^ French Ministry of Culture Notice PM64000198 Processional Cross in the Church at Olhaïby (French)