Pyrenees orientales

The Eastern Pyrenees are a French department, locates at the south of France, the north of Catalonia, the border with Spain, in the area of Languedoc-Roussillon. This department gathers the old province of Roussillon (i.e. Roussillon, high Cerdagne, Conflent, Vallespir and Capcir originally catalanophones as well as the territory of Fenouilledes, only territory of the department of Languedocien culture and language occitane.) INSEE and the Post office allot code 66 to him.


The department east creates with the French Revolution, on March 4, 1790, pursuant to the law of December 22, 1789, from the province of Roussillon and of a small portion of Languedoc appelee Fenouilledes.

Two dates make it possible to better include/understand the history of this department:

  • 1258: the draft of Corbeil fixes the border between the kingdoms of France and Aragon, in Corbieres, Fenouilledes leave the zone of influence of king d' Aragon whereas Roussillon is maintained there like all Catalonia. The inhabitants of the current department belong has two different countries and speak two close languages, the Catalan in Roussillon, Conflent, Vallespir and Cerdagne and the occitan in Fenouilledes.
  • 1659: the province of Roussillon and part of Cerdagne is cedees by Spain with the crown of France to the draft of the Pyrenees, except for the enclave of Llivia. The political border of 1258 then becomes a limit between two provinces of the kingdom of France.

In spite of the creation of the department in 1790, the differences were maintained between the two entities. The Catalans use the pejorative term of gavatxos for designer the inhabitants of Fenouilledes and the Aude. In fact, this term is always very widespread in Spain in the forms gavatx (as a Catalan) and gabacho (in Castilian). Gavatx could be compares to the word Boche in French. But it designates the French. It is still long-lived because the last invasion of Spain dates from the Napoleonean wars. In Northern Catalonia, this term lost its aggressive connotation and became mocker, it is more comparable to the used franchouillard by the French, or to the word Teuton that those employ for designer the Germans.

The crown Spanish, eager to find its old possession, invades with its troops the department in April 1793, but France recovered it later thirteen months, with the war of Roussillon.

The royalty had tears off Roussillon and Cerdagne of the remainder of Catalonia and had isolate them in a statute from country says foreign. To the XIX E century, the Eastern Pyrenees were one of the most republican departments of France. Fran?ois Arago, politician and scientist do not have Estagel, are the symbol.


The department of the Eastern Pyrenees belongs to the Languedoc-Roussillon area. Its borders are made up Mediterranean in the east, Spain (province of Gerone) in the south, department of the Aude in north, Andorra and department of Ari?ge in the west.

It belongs to the rare French departments (with the Alpes-Maritimes, the Yr?n?es-Atlantiques and Corsica) which allow has their inhabitants and with the tourists to benefit at the same time from the joys of the mountain and from those of the sea.

It is cross-piece of west in is by three parallel rivers, Tech, the Small fireclay cup and Agly. It is also in the Eastern Pyrenees that the Aude takes her source. Its culminating point is the Peak Carlit (2921 m), but its most known mountain remains the Canigou mount.

Source: Wikipedia.

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