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Coat of arms of Espéraza
Coat of arms
Espéraza is located in France
Coordinates: 42°56′10″N 2°13′17″E / 42.9361°N 2.2214°E / 42.9361; 2.2214Coordinates: 42°56′10″N 2°13′17″E / 42.9361°N 2.2214°E / 42.9361; 2.2214
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Aude
Arrondissement Limoux
Canton La Haute-Vallée de l'Aude
Intercommunality Aude en Pyrénées
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Michel Lafitte
Area1 10.52 km2 (4.06 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 2,101
 • Density 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 11129 /11260
Elevation 229–480 m (751–1,575 ft)
(avg. 244 m or 801 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.

Espéraza (Occitan: Esperasan) is a commune in the Aude department in southern France.

It lies on the Aude just north of the foothills of the Pyrenees.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 2,593 —    
1968 2,766 +6.7%
1975 2,529 −8.6%
1982 2,512 −0.7%
1990 2,250 −10.4%
1999 2,129 −5.4%
2008 2,101 −1.3%


  • The church was built during the 13th century.
  • One of the old pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela passes this way, through the mountains and on into Spain.
  • In the early 20th century, Espéraza was known for hat making. The town has a Hat Making Museum. Around 1815, the village experienced a considerable economic growth thanks to Bugarach hatters who settled there. First in 1830, then 1878, then Espéraza enjoyed a prosperous period in the headgear. The arrival of the railway at that time certainly encouraged this growth industry. By 1929, there were 3000 Espéraza workers and 14 factories which allowed the village to become the second largest in the world of felt hats (after Monza, Italy). But fashion, a phenomenon unknown at the time, had a terrible impact on the garment industry. The hat was less and less worn in the mid-20th century, plunged Espéraza into an economic depression. Now all that remains of the 14 Espéraza hat factories is a museum after the last factorie burnt down in 2002, Some have been turned to housing.
  • Especially since the late 20th century, Espéraza is known for the dinosaur fossil bones and eggs discovered in the area. Those discoveries not only begun in the end of the 19th century, excavations still continue nowadays and still continue delivering new species of dinosaurs. Dinosauria, the local museum, exhibits those fossils all along with life size reconstructions of dinosaurs.

See also[edit]