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View towards the town and the Camp de Gramou bridge over the Ariège
View towards the town and the Camp de Gramou bridge over the Ariège
Coat of arms of Ax-les-Thermes
Coat of arms
Ax-les-Thermes is located in France
Coordinates: 42°43′13″N 1°50′23″E / 42.7203°N 1.8397°E / 42.7203; 1.8397Coordinates: 42°43′13″N 1°50′23″E / 42.7203°N 1.8397°E / 42.7203; 1.8397
Country France
Region Midi-Pyrénées
Department Ariège
Arrondissement Foix
Canton Ax-les-Thermes
Intercommunality Vallées d'Ax
 • Mayor (2001–2008) Alain Chenebeau
 • Land1 30.26 km2 (11.68 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Population2 1,426
 • Population2 density 47/km2 (120/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 09032 / 09110
Elevation 697–2,411 m (2,287–7,910 ft)
(avg. 720 m or 2,360 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.

Ax-les-Thermes (Occitan: Acs) is a commune in the Ariège department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southwestern France.

It lies at the confluence of the Ariège River with three tributaries, 26 miles SSE of Foix by rail.[1] The Ax 3 Domaines winter sports resort is situated in the commune.


Ax-les-Thermes is situated in the Pyrénées, close to Andorra, and stands on the confluence of the Oriège, Ariège and Lauze rivers.[1]


The "Lepers' Pond" in Ax-les-Thermes, fed by hot springs

Ax (from Latin Aquae – water; French Thermes – hot springs), situated at an elevation of 700 metres (2,300 ft), is well known for its sulphurous hot springs (25 to 78 °C or 77 to 172 °F), of which there are about sixty.[1] The waters, which were used by the Romans,[1] are claimed to treat rheumatism, skin diseases, and other maladies. The springs were developed in the medieval period on the orders of Saint Louis to treat soldiers returning from the Crusades afflicted with leprosy. From the nineteenth century, a spa tourism industry developed.

The Bassin des Ladres (Lepers' Pond), in the centre of the town, is fed by hot springs supplying water from the ground at a temperature of 77°C. The best known fountain is the "fountain of cannons". A hospital is situated only one metre from the basin. The pond was built by Roger, Count of Foix, during the reign of Saint Louis. Every year on St John's Day, the Axéens, having been daubed with ashes, bathe in the Lepers' Pond for fun.


The mayor of Ax-les-Thermes in office from 2008 to 2014 is Pierre Peyronne, of the Socialist Party.


Its inhabitants are called Axéens.

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1962 1,628 —    
1968 1,688 +3.7%
1975 1,562 −7.5%
1982 1,478 −5.4%
1990 1,489 +0.7%
1999 1,441 −3.2%
2008 1,426 −1.0%


The local economy is mainly based on livestock (cattle, sheep), the spas, winter sports and tourism in general. The town benefits especially from spa tourism, skiing and its casino. Its proximity to Andorra enables cross-border shopping. The Ax 3 Domaines winter sports resort is situated in the commune and served as the finish line for stage 14 of the 2010 Tour de France.

See also[edit]