Stage town for the 5th time
Population: 6,500 (Mourenxois, Mourenxoises), and 53,400 in the Lacq-Orthez community of communes (61 communes)
Specialities: Jurançon wines, Roussanne fishing (since the 16th century), Béarn cider, cheeses, ice cream... and all the specialities of Béarn
Sport: Eddy Merckx velodrome, built in 1970 but abandoned (could reopen). A women's basketball team in Nat 1 between 2005 and 2008 (now the women's section of Elan béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez. 24 sports associations.
Architecture: 1 typical example of a new town from the 1960s, in the shape of a labyrinth (built for the workers of the Lacq basin after the discovery of the gas deposit and which was to last 20/25 years). Modern building (2001) for the headquarters of the Communauté de Communes.
Culture: Les Théâtrales (March), Foire de Mourenx (April), Le Tout Ptit Festival (June), Festival 64/15 (eclectic music, October), Carnival, Mourenx fait son cirque.
Economy: Lacq basin (gas extraction), Total and many subcontractors. Sogebi platform (chemicals). Soficar (carbon sector for wheels, bicycle frames, etc.).
Labels: "Ville à Vélo du Tour de France" 1 bike / Sport for all
Websites: www.mourenx.fr / www.le64.fr / www.coeurdebearn.fr / bearn-pyrenees.tourisme64.com
MOURENX, A STORY
To accompany the discovery of the natural gas deposit at Lacq and the development of an industrial complex, the first new town in France was built in 1958 near a village of 200 souls: Mourenx. This "mushroom" town was built at an extremely fast pace and a few years later had almost 12,000 inhabitants. A striking project in the rural landscape of Béarn: General de Gaulle in 1959 and Nikita Khrushchev in 1960 came to measure the extent of this symbolic construction site of the Sixties and the industrial development of France.
At the heart of this immense and modern building site, the first inhabitants invented a social life and gave a collective soul to the city. They were called "The Pioneers". Mourenx then became a formidable human adventure thanks to the strong solidarity that was established within this young population coming from various territories and backgrounds. This state of mind and this particular atmosphere are still anchored in the town's DNA: life in the neighbourhoods, a wealth of associations and culture, urban renewal and modern infrastructures...
The town of Mourenx remains closely linked to the industrial basin where international companies and start-ups are driving the conversion to renewable energies and the chemistry of tomorrow.The urban landscape has also undergone profound transformations. Rehabilitation, demolition and reconstruction have followed one another for more than 10 years to create a new town that is greener and more accessible to all.
This human-sized, multicultural town has retained its modernity and innovative character, with many quality services and facilities. In the heart of the Béarn countryside, the adventure continues. The people of Mourenx are ready for a new start.
MOURENX AND CYCLING
Half a century ago, it was traditional to follow the Pyrenean incursions with a stage for sprinters in Bordeaux and, in 1969 and 1970, it was from Mourenx that this "classic" started with victories for Barry Hoban and Rold Wolfshohl. Thirty years later, in 1999, it was Tom Steels who won a stage from Mourenx to Bordeaux. A similar scenario can be expected this year in Libourne.
The first two years, the "new town" created in 1958 for the exploitation of the Lacq gas, also had finishes and the first winner was Eddy Merckx, insatiable in his quest for a first title. The Belgian rider, who started a long breakaway on the descent of the Tourmalet, reached the finish line with a seven-minute advantage. To mark the event, the town inaugurated a velodrome in his presence the following year. It has been abandoned since 2012. The following year saw another solo victory by Frenchman Christian Raymond who, although less famous than his predecessor, was the first to give Merckx the nickname "the Cannibal". For this too, he will go down in cycling history.
In 1960, the new town took shape. At the highest point of the city, it was decided to build a landmark from which it could be admired: this was the launch of the Belvedere. Formerly a gourmet restaurant, then a nightclub, the Belvedere is a landmark for the people of Mourenx. It overlooks the town, the Lacq complex and the Pyrenees mountain range.
The Gabizos is one of the emblematic buildings of the town and its functionalist architecture, similar to the buildings of Le Corbusier. Bought by the town from the family of its creator in 2011, it now houses a hall dedicated to contemporary music, bearing the name of a singer who gave his first concerts in Mourenx: Daniel Balavoine.
Everybody talks about the new town. But the history of Mourenx goes back as far as the 12th century in the records of Gaston Fébus. The Bearn houses and the old farm buildings bear witness to this. It is also in this historical heart that Charles Moureu (1863-1929), chemist and pharmacist, member of the Academy of Sciences, grew up. Was the adventure between Mourenx and chemistry already being written?
Rue des Pionniers
In front of building A, the first building in the new town. It welcomed the first workers from all over France. When they arrived, the city was just a vast construction site, with feet in the mud. But the pioneers felt they were taking part in an extraordinary economic and human adventure.
From CRAPA to the Landscape Park
In the heart of the city, two natural spaces. The Landscape Park is a symbol of functionalist architecture, combining playgrounds for children, rest areas for seniors and original tree species. The CRAPA is a remarkable forest in the heart of the city, dedicated to walks and sports on more than two kilometres of paths. Two preserved natural places that are popular with the people of Mourenx.
In the town centre, this is a cultural centre which opened its doors in 2016. It includes the media library, the cyber-base, the Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture Centre of Pays de l'Adour (CCSTI Lacq-Odyssée), the contemporary art gallery, Hervé Di Rosa's museum of modest art, the Pieds dans l'eau theatre company, the cinema and the Bistrot M. This is a fitting symbol for the diversity of the Centre's cultural offer and the social and generational mix of the audiences it welcomes.
Hervé Di Rosa's Museum of Modest Art
At the MIAM, Musée International des Arts Modeste in Sète, Hervé Di Rosa offers a museum to these everyday objects, beautiful for some, ugly for others, sometimes useful but not always, charged with the history of their owners. In Mourenx, each inhabitant was invited to bring an object evoking his or her life in Mourenx and the Lacq industrial basin to the town hall. The artist displayed them in the museum of modest art installed in the hall of the Intercommunal Cultural Centre. In exchange, the town of Mourenx offers an original silk-screen print to choose from among the 22 produced by these 5 artists: Hervé Di Rosa, Jacques Derrey, Rachid Koraïchi, Virginie Barré and Bruno Peinado. More than 300 objects have been collected and make up this museum, many of which evoke the industrial life of the basin (ingots from the first Péchiney aluminium casting in 1960, SNPA, ELF and Total worksite helmets, workers' cards, gas masks, SNPA work clothes, etc.). All these objects are a precious testimony to the life of the inhabitants of the Lacq Basin for more than 50 years.
Inaugurated on 20 March 2010, this hiking trail runs through the town of Mourenx. It is 4.6 km long and allows you to discover the architecture of the town and its history. Five stations present the birth and evolution of this new town, whose existence is closely linked to the Lacq industrial basin. Audio guides are also available to complete the walk.