Pyrénées-Atlantiques - Le territoire




A cradle of wealth

With 664,000 residents, the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques is the third largest economic and demographic centre in the South-West of France, alongside Bordeaux and Toulouse. Two revolutions have launched its economy into the 21st century: corn crops, which were introduced after the war, and the discovery of the Lacq gas field, the largest in France, which has been in operation since the late 1950s.

In terms of agriculture, the department is the nation’s top producer of sheep’s cheese and its second highest producer of grain corn. It also has the most farms in all of Aquitaine. The department’s agri-food sector is strong, with its wine, ham, foie gras, and cheeses, as well as its chocolates, particularly in Bayonne, the chocolate capital of France.

The commercial port of Bayonne, which opens on the Atlantic, is another major asset for economic development, flanked by the airports of Pau-Pyrénées and Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne.

Skyrocketing success

In manufacturing, the department is home to a Total office, formerly Elf Aquitaine, which brought in its wake the development of leading technologies and research. Aerospace is another of the region’s flagship industries. There is also a network of subcontractors affiliated with the world’s leading companies, including Turbomeca, Dassault, and Messier-Dowty. The Pyrénées-Atlantiques recently committed to an innovative economic development approach. With the Nature and Technology project, the idea is to turn the department into a “Little California of the South-West” with its focus on innovation and geosciences and its environmentally-friendly high-tech industries. Central to the project is the concept of the 'green plane'. When it takes off in the coming years, this aircraft, which is less fuel-hungry and more eco-friendly, will have here a network of qualified subcontractors and research units, in the middle of Aerospace Valley, a global competitive cluster extending from Bordeaux to Toulouse.

A new wave

Likewise, a new economic sector is currently developing in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, riding the wave of popularity of board sports and their international brands. The world's best are choosing to settle here on our Atlantic coast.

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