View towards the town and the Camp de Gramou bridge over the Ariège
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Dominique Fourcade|
|Area1||30.26 km2 (11.68 sq mi)|
|• Density||45/km2 (120/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|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.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Axéens or Axéennes.
The commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.
Ax-les-Thermes is situated in the Pyrénées, close to Andorra, and stands on the confluence of the Oriège, Ariège and Lauze rivers. some 75 km west of Perpignan and 35 km north-east of Andorra la Vella. Access to the commune is by Route nationale N20 from Garanou in the north-west which passes through the village then south through the commune to Mérens-les-Vals. The D613 goes north from the village to Sorgeat and the D25 branches from this to go east to Ascou and Mijanès. The railway line from Foix passes through the commune with a station just north-west of the village. The line continues south to Merens-les-Vals. Apart from the village there are the hamlets of Premiere Bazerque, Deuxieme Bazerque, Troisieme Bazerque, Petches, and Ax-Bonascre to the south. The Ax 3 Domaines Ski resort is located at Ax-Bonascre south-west of the village and is accessed by the D82 road from the village. The commune is alpine in nature with extensive forests and rugged terrain.
The Ariège river flows through the commune from south to north at the start of its journey to join the Garonne at Portet-sur-Garonne. The Ruisseau des Estagnols rises in the south of the commune and flows north to join the Ariège in the south of the commune. The Ruisseau de Risl and the Ruisseau de Font Frède both rise in the east of the commune and flow west to join the Ariège. The Oriège flows from the east to join the Ariège in the village and the Lauze flows from the east to join the Ariège just north of the confluence of the Oriège.
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. The waters, which were used by the Romans, 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 19th century, a spa tourism industry developed.
The Bassin des Ladres (Lepers' Pond), in the centre of the commune, 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 IV, Count of Foix, during the reign of Saint Louis in 1260. Every year on St John's Day the people of Ax-les-Thermes, having been daubed with ashes, bathe in the Lepers' Pond for fun.
Neighbouring communes and villages
|These were the arms of Roger IV, Count of Foix, who built a leprosy hospital and the bassin des Ladres in 1260.
List of Successive Mayors
|1800||1813||Jean François Gaspard de Fornier de Clauselles|
(Not all data is known)
In 2010 the commune had 1,363 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 communes that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]
Local economic activity is based mainly on livestock (cattle and sheep), Hydrotherapy (there are 60 sources at temperatures ranging from 18 to 78 °C, feeding three spas: Couloubret, Modèle, and Teich. The waters treat especially sciatica, rheumatism and certain respiratory diseases), winter sports, and tourism in general. 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.
Culture and heritage
The commune has two sites that are registered as historical monuments:
- The Bassin des Ladres (Leper's Pond) (13th century) is fed by hot spring water at a temperature of 77 °C.
- The Teich Park Ornamental Garden (1838)
- Picture Gallery
- The Church of Saint-Jerome (formerly the Chapel of the Blue Penitents) contains several items that are registered as historical objects:
- The Church of Saint-Vincent contains several items that are registered as historical objects:
- A Chalice (16th century)
- A Crucifix from the Blue Penitents (1650)
- A Chalice (16th century)
- A Painting: Saint Vincent in Ecstasy (18th century)
- A Bronze Bell (1512)
- A Painting: The mystical marriage of Saint Catherine (17th century)
- A Painting: Christ on the Cross with Saint Madeleine and the Virgin at his feet (1875)
- Saint Udaut (405-452), priest and martyr
- Louis Gareau (1769-1813), General of the Armies of the Republic and the Empire
- Gatien Marcailhou (1807-1855), composer and "inventor" of the waltz. He was the first teacher of Gabriel Fauré. Hius most famous composition, Indiana, inspired Camille Claudel in his group La Valse.
- Pierre Bertrand de Mérignon
- Pierre Roussel (1742-1802), writer and doctor, born in Ax-les-Thermes.
- 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 on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.
- Inhabitants of Ariège (French)
- Ax-les-Thermes in the Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom (French)
- Chisholm 1911.
- Google Maps
- Arms of France (French)
- List of Mayors of France (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093770 Bassin des Ladres (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA09000046 Teich Park Ornamental Garden (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy IM09000112 Altar Painting: Christ on the Cross (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000064 Choir Enclosure (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000063 Front of the Altar (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000056 Tabernacle and 6 statuettes (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000062 Altar, Retable, 2 statues, Painting: Saint Jerome, Saint Madeleine, Christ on the Cross (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000869 Chalice (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000061 Crucifix (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000060 Chalice (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000059 Painting: Saint Vincent in Ecstasy (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000058 Bronze Bell (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM09000057 Painting: The mystical marriage of Saint Catherine (French)
- Ministry of Culture, Palissy IM09000111 Christ on the Cross with Saint Madeleine and the Virgin at his feet (French)
- Pierre Brun, A Hellenist of the 17th century: Pierre Bertrand de Mérignon from Ax-les-Thermes, Annales du Midi, 1894, p. 327-348 (French)
- François Xavier de Feller, Historical Dictionary…, 1823, p. 403 (French)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ax-les-Thermes.|
- Ax-les-Thermes official website (French)
- Vallées d'Ax Tourism website (French)
- Tourist Information website for Ax les Thermes (French)
- Ax 3 Domaines ski resort official website (French)
- Ax-les-Thermes Green Station website (French)
- Ax-les-Thermes school website (French)
- Ax-les-Thermes on Lion1906
- Ax on the 1750 Cassini Map
- Ax-les-Thermes on the INSEE website (French)
- INSEE (French)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ax-les-Thermes". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.