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Pyrénées-Atlantiques(pērānā`-zätläNtēk`), department (1990 pop. 581,300), SW France; formerly Basses-Pyrénées dept. PauPau
, city (1990 pop. 83,928), capital of Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept., SW France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. It is a major year-round tourist center, renowned for its spa and winter sports, as well as its scenery.
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(formerly Basses-Pyrénées), a department in southwestern France, bordering on Spain and the Bay of Biscay. Area, 7,700 sq km. Population, 529,000 (1973). The capital is Pau. In 1968 some 24 percent of the work force was engaged in agriculture, and 23 percent was employed in industry. Cattle and sheep are raised in the mountains, and wheat and corn are grown in the foothills. There are also orchards and vineyards.
Of nationwide importance is the extraction of natural gas in the Lacq region, which produced 10.5 billion cu m in 1972. The gas is used to operate thermoelectric power plants and chemical plants. There is also an aluminum plant. The department’s industrial centers are Bayonne (aircraft), Pau (machine building, textiles, and footwear), and Oloron-Ste. Marie (berets). In the department is the famous seaside and balneological resort of Biarritz.