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Ance

Ance

Ance, a rural commune in the Valley of Barétous, is located 8 km from Oloron-Sainte-Marie, 40 km from Pau and 94 km from Bayonne.

This village, set amongst the hills, is the smallest in the valley (254 inhabitants in 2012). It is located in the basin of the Adour and is traversed by a tributary of the Gave d’Oloron river: the Vert.
The place name Ance first appears in the 13th century in the form Anssa, of Basque origin, meaning “height”. It is called Ansa in Béarnese dialect.

The commune’s economy is principally agricultural with the cultivation of maize and stockbreeding by some ten farmers. Some of them produce farm cheeses and other dairy products sold on the farm, others offer beef, veal and lamb selling direct and to order. Ance is part of the Ossau Iraty AOC Area (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) for cheese.

The parish church of Saint-Etienne dates from the 18th and 19th centuries. Its 18th Century altarpiece is registered on the French national cultural heritage list.

The Soum de Cassiet reaches 420 m and the Aulis rises to 577 m. The 548 m Mer de Her stands to the south of the commune. The “Jardin des Fées” (“Magic Garden”), a protohistoric camp with monoliths, can be seen on the “Soum de l'Ombret” (562 m). According to legend, after having moved the enormous rocks, fairies set up their homes there. 

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