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A general view of Axat
A general view of Axat
Coat of arms of Axat
Coat of arms
Location of Axat
Axat is located in France
Axat is located in Occitanie
Coordinates: 42°48′16″N 2°14′10″E / 42.8044°N 2.2361°E / 42.8044; 2.2361Coordinates: 42°48′16″N 2°14′10″E / 42.8044°N 2.2361°E / 42.8044; 2.2361
IntercommunalityCC Pyrénées Audoises
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Marcel Martinez
11.77 km2 (4.54 sq mi)
 • Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
11021 /11140
Elevation394–1,330 m (1,293–4,364 ft)
(avg. 398 m or 1,306 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Axat (Atsat in Occitan) is a commune in the Aude department in the Occitanie region of southern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Axatois or Axatoises.[2]


Axat is located in Cathar country at the doors of the Aude Pyrenees some 45 km west by northwest of Perpignan and 10 km southeast of Quillan. Access to the commune is by the D117 road from Belvianes-et-Cavirac in the north which passes east through the top of the commune and continues to Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes. Access to the village is by the D118 which branches from the D117 in the north of the commune and goes south to the village then continues south through the length of the commune before turning west to follow a mountain ridge to Puyvalador. The commune is alpine in nature with extensive forests and rugged terrain. The village is in a valley in the north of the commune.[3]

Axat is a pretty tourist town situated in the high valley of the Aude. Surrounded by mountains and gorges, the narrowest Gorge of Saint Georges is only 3 km away. The River Aude is in a picturesque setting and is a popular whitewater sports location. There are 300 metres of fly fishing stretches where the quality of oxygen in the water attracts salmon and trout.

A privately owned tourist railway known as The Little Red Train (Train du pays Cathare et du Fenouillèdes), runs on part of the old Carcassonne to Rivesaltes via Quillan SNCF railway line, from a station just west of the village. In summer it links Axat to Rivesaltes passing through Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet with 60 km of track running over impressive viaducts and through tunnels on open-air carriages. The former track between Axat and Quillan no longer exists.

The Aude river flows through the length of the commune from south to north then continues northwest at the start of its journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Many tributaries rise in the commune on both banks and flow into the Aude including the Ruisseau d'Artigues (which rises in Artigues), the Ruisseeau de Seilles, and many other unnamed streams.[3]

Neighbouring communes and villages[3][edit]


View of the Aude in Axat

In ancient times the Aude basin did not belong to the Sordones but to other iron producers inhabiting Atax country: the Atacini who made swords as well as axes. The nearest village to the Sordones and part of the land occupied by the Aticini was called Axat and this name, which is a simple inversion of Atax marks the exact point of division between the two tribes of Sordones and Atacini.


The Barony became a Marquisate in 1776 according to Eric Thiou[4] and was extinguished in 1788.[5] It became a courtesy title borrowed by Philippe du Puy de Clinchamps.[6]


Arms of Axat

Argent, a fesse Vert, in chief three square lozenges the same.


List of Successive Mayors[7]

From To Name Party Position
1947 1971 Emile Gorse
1971 1983 Alexandre Raynaud
1983 1985 Jean Paul Raynaud
1985 1989 Yves Ipavec
1989 2020 Marcel Martinez

(Not all data is known)


In 2017 the commune had 547 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]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
284 335 361 411 546 582 278 594 540
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
538 529 458 452 444 425 450 454 558
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
838 695 912 863 968 1,010 901 930 1,006
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2007 2012 2017
993 997 911 1,021 919 832 701 623 547

Population Over Time

Sources: database Ldh/EHESS/Cassini and Insee See database
The Gorge of Saint Georges at the end of the 19th century

Culture and heritage[edit]

The railway viaduct in 1910

Civil heritage[edit]

  • A Viaduct built in 1900
  • A Bridge

Religious heritage[edit]

The Church of the Assumption of Notre-Dame, built in 1630, contains a Statue: the Immaculate Conception (17th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg which is registered as an historical object[8]

The New Provisional Church contains several items that are registered as historical objects:

  • A Statue: Saint John the Evangelist (17th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[9]
  • A Statue: Virgin with pedestal (17th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[10]
  • A Painting: Saint Michel vanquishing the demon (18th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[11]
  • A Painting: The Assumption (18th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[12]

Local life[edit]


  • Water activities: rafting, whitewater swimming, canoeing
  • Axat Football Club, a soccer club founded in 1940.
  • Outdoor sports: hiking (walking, horse riding, mountain biking), climbing

There is also an outdoor swimming pool which is open from June to September with great mountain views.

Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

The Marquis of Dax of Axat (1767-1847)
  • The Dax family, originally from Carcassonne, have been linked to Axat since the middle of the 15th century, when its members were Lords of Axat.
  • Henri Rouzaud, born in Axat on 14 November 1855, died at Narbonne on 17 July 1935, professor and politician
  • Albert Cauneille, norn on 4 October 1910 in Axat. He was twice a finalist in the 1932–33 French Rugby Union Championship. He played centre three-quarters (he was 1.72m tall and weighed 82 kg). Clubs: Carcassonne and Narbonne.[13]
  • Henri Gleyzes, born on 18 May 1901 in Axat and died on 15 October 1969. He was a finalist in the 1924–25 French Rugby Union Championship with Carcassonne. He played wing three-quarter.[14]
  • Patrick David, born on 3 May 1954 in Axat. Rugby player. He was a finalist in the 1976–77 French Rugby Union Championship with Perpignan. He played prop (he was 1.83m tall and 87 kg).

See also[edit]

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 Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, 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.


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. ^ Inhabitants of Aude (in French)
  3. ^ a b c Google Maps
  4. ^ Éric Thiou, Dictionary of titles and land titles in France under the Ancien Régime, éditions Mémoire et Documents, Versailles, 2003, (p.58) (in French)
  5. ^ Gustave Chaix d'Est-Ange, Dictionary of ancient French families and notables at the end of the 19th century, vol. 13 (in French)
  6. ^ Charondas, What title?, vol. 36, 1970 (in French)
  7. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11002546 Statue: the Immaculate Conception (in French)
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11001718 Statue: Saint John the Evangelist (in French)
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11001717 Statue: Virgin, with pedestal (in French)
  11. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11000603 Painting: Saint Michel vanquishing the demon (in French)
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11000602 Painting: The Assumption (in French)
  13. ^ Rugby website Archived October 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  14. ^ Rugby website Archived October 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (in French)