Pyrenees. Three departments of Franco take their names from different sections of the range above described: -
Basses (or Lower) Pyrenees occupies an area of 2,943 square miles, in the angle of the Bay of Biscay, being bounded N. by Landes and Gers, S. by Spain, E. by Hautes-Pyrenees, and W. by the Atlantic. The mountains towards the W. seldom exceed 3,000 ft. in elevation, but rise gradually in the E. to 8,000 or 10,000 ft., as in the case of Anie, Mourrous, and Ossau. The valleys, in spite of excessive humidity, are fertile, producing barley, oats, rye, wine, chestnuts, and vegetables, whilst there is good pasturage for cattle and sheep. Mineral springs exist at Eaux Bonnes, Eaux Chaudes, Cambon, and other places. Pau, the capital, Biarritz, and St. Jean de Luz, on the coast, are well-known health-resorts, and Bayonne is the only commercial port.
Hautes (or High) Pyrenees, lies E. of the preceding, having Spain as its S. boundary, Haute-Garonne to the E., Landes and Gers to the N.W. and N.E. Within its borders are found the highest peaks, and the southern half is extremely wild and rugged; but fertile valleys open out to the north, where corn, wine, and cattle thrive well. Its area is 1,742 square miles. The products are much the same as in the Basses-Pyrenees. Mineral springs exist at St. Sauveur, Bareges, Cauterets, and Bagneres, which with Lourdes (a great place of pilgrimage), Argeles, and Tarbes, the capital, are the chief towns.
Pyrenees-Orientales (or Eastern), is bounded N. by Ariege and Aude, E. by the Mediterranean, S. by Spain, and W. by Ariege. The area of 1,592 square miles is divided by the Albieres, the Corbieres, and the branches of the Pyrenees into three valleys, running E. and W. and merging to the N.E. in a wide plain. Good crops of grain, olives, and fruits are produced, but viticulture is the principal source of wealth, the wines of Roussillon and Rivesaltes being much esteemed, The climate and products, especially in the coast districts, are those of Corsica and Italy. There are no good harbours, the coast being fringed with shallow sandy lagoons. Port Vendres and Barcyul enjoy the largest share of traffic. Perpignan is the capital, Ceret, Rades, and Amelie-les-Bains being towns of minor importance.