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Biscarrosse Elm in January; died 2010.
Biscarrosse Elm in January; died 2010.
Coat of arms of Biscarrosse
Coat of arms
Biscarrosse is located in France
Coordinates: 44°23′39″N 1°09′46″W / 44.3942°N 1.1628°W / 44.3942; -1.1628Coordinates: 44°23′39″N 1°09′46″W / 44.3942°N 1.1628°W / 44.3942; -1.1628
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Landes
Arrondissement Mont-de-Marsan
Canton Parentis
Intercommunality Grands Lacs
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Alain Dudon
Area1 160.48 km2 (61.96 sq mi)
Population (2009)2 12,163
 • Density 76/km2 (200/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 40046 / 40600
Elevation 0–78 m (0–256 ft)
(avg. 26 m or 85 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.

Biscarrosse is a commune in the Landes department in Aquitaine in southwestern France. It is located 65 km (40 mi) southwest of Bordeaux, and 10 km (6.2 mi) inland from the seaside resort of Biscarrosse-Plage on the Atlantic coast.

Near Biscarrosse is the CEL (national test centre) from which numerous French military rockets have been launched for test purposes. Likewise, the CEL has facilities for launching civilian rockets to study the upper atmosphere.

Near the town centre, outside the Café de l'orme, there was what is believed to have been the oldest elm tree in Europe. Planted in 1350, this Field Elm Ulmus minor died in 2010 after finally succumbing to Dutch elm disease. [1]. Legend has it that girls deemed promiscuous were forced to stand naked upon a barrel beneath the tree for a day. One unfortunate, unjustly accused, died of shame, the tree annually producing a corona of blanched leaves in her memory.

The commune has an airport, called Biscarrosse - Parentis Airport.


The toponym Biscarrosse derivates from the Aquitanian language[1] or directly from the Basque word bizkar, meaning 'low ridge' or 'prominence'[2] followed by the Aquitanian suffix -ossum/-os,[1] that was used to mark presence.[2] Related toponyms are Biscay and Biscarrués.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 3,048 —    
1968 7,159 +134.9%
1975 8,058 +12.6%
1982 8,065 +0.1%
1990 9,054 +12.3%
1999 9,290 +2.6%
2006 12,031 +29.5%
2009 12,163 +1.1%

Hydroplane activity[edit]

Nearby Hourtiquet once hosted an important hydroplane base, serving the builder Latécoère and airlines Aéropostale and its successor Air France. A hydroplane museum exists at the shores of the Lac de Biscarrosse et de Parentis. During World War II the base served German military hydroplanes; two Dornier 24 flying boats were recovered from the lake in 1980 and 1981.[3] Since 1991, the lake has seen bi-annual hydroplane fly-ins.[4]

Oil exploration[edit]

After the demise of hydroplanes after WW2, the lake gained new interest at the discovery of petroleum. It has the greatest reserve in France. Petroleum exploitation is situated on the shores of the lake, in the commune of Parentis.



  1. ^ a b Dauzat, Albert (1979). Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieu en France [Etymological Dictionary of name places in France] (in French). Paris: Librairie Guénégaud. ISBN 2-85023-076-6. 
  2. ^ a b Website of town of Biscarrosse
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]