Aigues-Vives, Ariège

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View of Aigues-Vives, Léran and the Lac de Montbel
View of Aigues-Vives, Léran and the Lac de Montbel
Coat of arms of Aigues-Vives
Coat of arms
Aigues-Vives is located in France
Coordinates: 42°59′51″N 1°52′35″E / 42.9975°N 1.8764°E / 42.9975; 1.8764Coordinates: 42°59′51″N 1°52′35″E / 42.9975°N 1.8764°E / 42.9975; 1.8764
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Ariège
Arrondissement Pamiers
Canton Mirepoix
Intercommunality Pays Mirepoix
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Christian Mascarenc
Area1 5.16 km2 (1.99 sq mi)
Population (2014)2 632
 • Density 120/km2 (320/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 09002 /09600
Elevation 391–621 m (1,283–2,037 ft)
(avg. 410 m or 1,350 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.

Aigues-Vives is a French commune in the Ariège department in the Occitanie region of southwestern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Aigues-Vivesiens or Aigues-Vivesiennes.[1][2]



Aigues-Vives is located both in the Pays d'Olmes and the Canton of Mirepoix on the D625 main road (formerly Route nationale N625) which runs from Saint-Quentin-la-Tour in the north through the heart of the commune and the town to Laroque-d'Olmes in the south. It is about 90 km in a direct line south by south west of Narbonne. Augues-Vives can also be accessed from the east on Highway D28 from Leran. Apart from the Aigues-Vives town there is one other residential area to the north of the town called Le Kartare. The commune is forested to the west and the east with the centre of the commune farmland (apart from the town).[3]

Neighboring Communes and Villages[3][edit]


The Countirou stream, which has its source in the nearby village of Tabre, passes through the commune of Aigues-Vives, along the D625 road, and comes to an end at Hers-Vif near Mirepoix. A number of streams traverse the commune and flow into Coutirou including the: Fontaine de Toustou, the Couxou, the Ribalerie, and the Saint-Paul).[4]

Lake Montbel is located three kilometres south-east of the commune and is visible from the hills above Aigues-Vives.

Geology and terrain[edit]

The village is located in an area formed during the Tertiary period with a soil which is a mix of conglomerate and sandstone,[5] on strata called the "conglomerates of Palassou" located on the North Pyrenees faultline.[6]

Aigues-Vives is surrounded by several hills, the highest being 630m above sea level, on the western edge of the commune. The village itself is 420m high on average with the lowest point being 391m.[4]

Seismicity and disasters[edit]

According to decree No. 2010-1255 of 22 October 2010 on the delimitation of the seismicity of the French territory, Aigues-Vives is exposed to a risk level of 3 (moderate).[7]

Other risks facing Aigues-Vives are forest fires, industrial hazards, and risks due to transport of dangerous goods.[8] Past disasters include the November 1982 storm, flooding and mudslides in January 1992 and mudslides in November–December 1996.[9]


Aigues-Vives or in Occitan Aigas Vivas meaning "whitewater" takes its name from springs in the surrounding hills.[10][11] There were also these old forms: Aygas vivas (1300) Aquisvivis (1377), and Aiguesvives (1801).[2]


The first written mention of Aigues-Vives dates to 1301.[11] The village was under the control of Mirepoix, ten miles to the north, until 1329, when Gaston de Lévis-Léran appropriated the castle and the surrounding lands. The village remained in the possession of the Lévis-Léran family until the Revolution.[2]

The main industries in the 20th century were the making of "horn combs"[12] and textiles, as is the case for much of the Pays d'Olmes.[2]


Arms of Aigues-Vives

Or, paly of 2 vert and in chief the same.

Policy and Administration[edit]

Town Hall of Aigues-Vives

Municipal Administration[edit]

Based on the number of inhabitants (more than 100, less than 499), the town has a council of 11 members.[13]

List of Successive Mayors of Aigues-Vives[14]

From To Name Party Position
2001 2008 Ange Fernand Mendes
2008 2020 Christian Mascarenc

(Not all data is known)

Population and Society[edit]


In 2009, the commune had 559 inhabitants (an increase of 11% compared to 1999). The town held the 15,508th place at the national level, while it was at 15,641st place in 1999, and 61st out of 332 at the departmental level.

The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the town since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of municipalities 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
333 396 404 509 410 443 423 433 441
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
410 400 411 394 383 414 368 372 351
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
318 320 288 273 256 246 232 217 209
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2007 2008
210 188 197 339 462 486 515 523 541
2009 - - - - - - - -
559 - - - - - - - -

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

Population of Aigues-Vives

Pyramid of Ages[edit]

The population of the town is relatively young. The rate of people above the age of 60 years (16.5%) is lower than the national rate (21.6%) and the departmental level (28.3%). Unlike national and departmental allocations, the male population of the town is greater than the female population (52.2% against 48.4% nationally and 48.8% at the departmental level).

The distribution of the population of the municipality by age groups is, in 2007, as follows: 52.2% of men (0–14 years = 21.9%, 15–29 years = 15%, 30 to 44 years = 21.9%, 45–59 years = 26.5% over 60 years = 14.6%); 47.8% of women (0–14 years = 17.2%, 15–29 years = 9.7%, 30–44 years = 23.9%, 45–59 years = 30.7%, more than 60 years = 18.5%).

Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Aigues-Vives and Ariege Department in 2007

Aigues-Vives Aigues-Vives Ariege Ariege
Age Range Men Women Men Women
0 to 14 Years 21.9 17.2 16.9 15.4
15 to 29 Years 15.0 9.7 15.6 13.9
30 to 44 Years 21.9 23.9 19.5 18.9
45 to 59 Years 26.5 30.7 22.3 21.0
60 to 74 Years 13.1 10.9 15.8 16.5
75 to 89 Years 1.5 6.3 9.3 12.7
90 Years+ 0.0 1.3 0.6 1.6

Sources: Local INSEE 1968 INSEE Population Census of 2007 for Ariege


Aigues-Vives has a kindergarten and primary school, with 68 students (for the academic year 2010-2011).[15]


Several sports facilities exist in Aigues-Vives: a football club, a gymnasium, a Tai-chi group, a bicycle club, and a leisure centre which has a go-karting track and a mini-golf area.[11]


There is no pharmacy or doctor in Aigues-Vives with the closest being at Laroque-d'Olmes about 3 kilometres away. The nearest hospital is in Lavelanet seven kilometres away.


Incomes of the population and taxation[edit]

In 2008, the median household income tax was €17,598, placing Aigues-Vives in 14,462th place out of the 31,604 communes of more than 50 households in France.[16]

Employment, business and trade[edit]

The rate of unemployment in 2007 was 13.6% and slightly higher among women than men.[17]

There are several companies in the building trades, particularly masonry and housepainting in Aigues-Vives and there is also a textile company and a website design business. There is an Asian caterer, a camping ground, and a Karting Club.[18]

Agriculture and livestock is another sector of activity in Aigues-Vives: wheat, forage grass, and vines are grown, while cattle and sheep are also raised. The nearby forests are exploited and are rich in mushrooms.[19]

The Wind farm project[edit]

A project to create a wind farm on the ridges of the Serre du Tut was launched and then abandoned[20] due to strong opposition, especially from the Association for the Preservation and Tourism and the Sites in the Pyrénées Mountains.[21]

Local Culture and Heritage[edit]

Sites and Monuments[edit]

  • Several 'Wayside crosses scattered around the village were used as Oratories. Processions in honour of the Virgin Mary are organized there.[11]
  • A Column with a square pedestal, topped by a statue of the Virgin is located in the parking lot near the church. It is about four metres high.
  • An Old Fountain with a hand pump which is in no state to use.
Old fountain in the village centre
  • Dry stone huts in ruins, formerly used by farmers.
  • Lake Montbel is 5 km southeast of the commune.
  • The Ecomuseum of Camping in the Serre.

Notable People linked to the commune[edit]

  • Faust Nadal, a colonial physician. Born in Aigues-Vives
  • Jean Pelissier (1883-1939), a historian, sociologist, and journalist born in Aigues-Vives

See also[edit]


  • History and Heritage of Mirepoix Country, Mirepoix Tourist Office, 1999, p. 115-119. (in French)

External links[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 [1], the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" which allow, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For municipalities with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these municipalities 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 (in French)
  2. ^ a b c d Aigues-Vives, Jean-Jacques Pétris, website of the Historical Society, consulted on 3 June 2011. (in French)
  3. ^ a b Google Maps
  4. ^ a b Géoportail, IGN (in French)
  5. ^ Simplified Geological Map of Ariège, Website of the town council of Vira, consulted on 3 June 2011 (in French)
  6. ^ Distribution of the ultra-basic body along the Pyrénées mountain chain, website of the Academy of Toulouse, consulted on 3 June 2011 (in French)
  7. ^ Decree No. 2010-1255 of 22 October 2010 to delineate the seismicity zones in French territory in the Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Midi-Pyrénées regions, website of Légifrance, consulted on 3 June 2011 (in French)
  8. ^ Gaspar database - Risks for the ARIÈGE department, website of the Ministry of Ecology, sustainable development, transport and accommodation, consulted on 3 June 2011 (in French)
  9. ^ Risks for Aigues-Vives, website of the Ministry of Ecology, sustainable development, transport and accommodation, consulted on 25 May 2011 (in French)
  10. ^ General Toponymy of France - non-Roman Forms; dialectal forms, Etymology of 35,000 place names, Ernest Nègre, editor Librairie Droz, Geneva, 1991, vol. 2, 1381 pages, p. 1064, ISBN 978-2-600-00133-5, consulted on 16 May 2011 (in French)
  11. ^ a b c d Official Site of Aigues-Vives, consulted on 16 May 2011 (in French)
  12. ^ Combs made from the horns of sheep or cattle. See "Peigne en corne" in the French Wikipedia (in French)
  13. ^ art L. 2121-2 of the General Code of Collective Territories (in French).
  14. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  15. ^ Directory of public schools, consulted on 27 May 2011. (in French)
  16. ^ CC-Statistical Summary by commune, department, and type of employment, INSEE, consulted on 3 June 2011 (in French)
  17. ^ EMP T4 - Unemployment (by census) for the age group 15-64 years, INSEE, consulted on 6 June 2011 (in French)
  18. ^ Local Activities, Official website of Aigues-Vives, consulted on 6 June 2011. (in French)
  19. ^ Michel de La, Ariège, the complete guide to 332 communes], Deslogis-Lacoste, Paris, 1990, ISBN 978-2-7399-5009-2, consulted on 6 June 2011. (in French)
  20. ^ Presentation of the wind farm Project, consulted on 10 May 2012. (in French)
  21. ^ Winds of revolt in Cathare country against the industrial wind farm, Laurence Cabrol, 23 April 2012, AriègeNews, consulted on 10 May 2012. (in French)
  22. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000001 Baptismal font (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  23. ^ Aigues-Vives War Memorial, Gérard Doucet, online 28 January 2011, consulted on 1 June 2011. (in French)