The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : literature & videos
Print this page

L’Albera frontière
In: l’Albera 2000 ans d’histoire, page 239-248. Available as a pdf-file
(this chapter describes the delimitation-proces in l'Albère, the most eastern (French) part of the Pyrenees and in particular the dispute about the strip near Le Perthus. It includes extracts of the Treaty of the Pyrenees localizing each bordermarker)

Le traité des Pyrénées - texte intégral en français moderne
Monhélios, 2008. - 144p. - ISBN 2914709730
(The original text of the Treaty of the Pyrenees and the Treaty of Llivia 'translated' in modern french)

Les bornes d'Itxassou et leurs mésavontures
In: Revue de l'Association JAKINTZA, N° spécial Février 2014
(Apparently part of a larger volume ("Itxassou", see this very interesting article has  a focus on the bordermarkers 75 and 76 at Col de Gorospil, which have been replaced several times since the second half of the 20th century. The vandalized bordermarkers, thrown down the hillside W, form now a sort of cemetary of bordermarkers. In its introduction, the article gives an ample description of the border-related treaties since the middle ages.)

French filmmaker who made two documentaries on the esfr-border. See in this list
- L'homme
- Patz

Grands ports des Pyrénées
Published by Sirius, 1986
ISBN 2904027173, 9782904027178
270 pagina's

El deslinde de la frontera en pirineos centrales (1857-1863)
In: Geographicalia (2013), 63-64, pag. 43-61. Can be downloaded at this site or from my website.
(this article focusses on the diplomatic way of thinking and acting when the delimitation-process took place in the central Pyrenees in the 19th century. Although all former local cross-border agreements were initially declared of no value, the commissioners did their best to find out which they were, to mediate in existing conflicts and to incorporate them when possible/needed in the Bayonne Treaty)

Historia del deslinde de la frontera Hispano-Francesa : del tratado de los Pirineos (1659) a los tratados de Bayona (1856-1868)
Madrid : Centro Nacional de Información Geográfica, 2009. - ISBN: 978-84-416-1480-2
(this book, meant as a preparation for a thesis (which focusses on the Girona-province) and ready for download with this  link and also on my website, is an elaborate spanish study of the delimitation of the esfr-border from the Treaty of the Pyrenees until the Bayonne-treaties. In annexes B and  C we find  all treaties until 1880 in the spanish language. The author is a member of a esfr-delimitation-commission, the "Commission Mixte d' Abornement". A review & summary of this book is available (in Catalan) at this webpage.)

La delimitació de la frontera hispanofrancesa (1659-1868)
Doctoral thesis - Barcelona, 2011
(this is a catalan-language version of chapter V of his previous book, focussing on the (border of) the Girona-province with more details of the negotiation-process and 25k cartography. You can download the thesis with this link or from my website)

Entre France et Espagne, Jean-Paul veille sur les bornes de la frontière
La Dépêche, 03/11/2010 (see this link or this pdf-article)
(A very interesting article in the newspaper La Dépeche  on the surveillance of the esfr-bordermarkers.  It tells us that there are three men in the Pyrenees assigned with the dream-job of checking the bordermarkers. In this case it's an interview with Jean-Paul Laborie - a retired geography-professor - who takes care of the Pyrénées Centrales.  We learn that Michael Ransou takes care of the Pyrénées Atlantiques and André Pichon covers the Pyrénées-Orientales. Apparently all three French which raises the question who are their Spanish counterparts. Also interesting: a reader's comment by - who else - Charles Darrieu who is indignant about a wrong statement of Laborie about bm422 and in his answer honours Jean Sermet, the famous bm-commissioner. Both article and comment are reproduced in this pdf-article
It's indeed amazing that Laborie seems to start from scratch, suggesting that there's no archive of pictures, directions, waypoints etcetera to rely on. I hope he will soon find this website.)

Frontière : le retour de la borne 410
La Dépêche - Grand Sud - Pyrénées, 10 dec 2014 (see this link or this pdf-article)
(A newspaper-article on a maintenance-job on Pont du Roi. One of the unnumbered submarkers (but NOT bm410) on the new bridge was repaired, supervised by the French border-commissioner Jean-Paul Laborie and his French counterpart Ruben Rumacha Grau. Jean-Paul explains why maintenance of bordermarkers is still important: because they are our heritage!)

CLARENS, Jean de
Retour sur la croix frontière
In: Pyrénées - Bulletin Pyrénéen. - Nr 232, octobre 2007, p.390
(An article about the fake bm316, see the curiosities-page)

DEREIX, André-Jaques
Chasseur de bornes en Pyrénées
Journal Sud Ouest – Le Mag – 15 september 2012, pag 36-37)
(newspaper article about Jacques Koleck, you can read it here)

DESCHEEMAEKER, Jacques (2003)
La frontière franco-espagnole de l'Océan à Bidarray.
In: VIIème Congres d'Etudes Basques =​ Eusko Ikaskuntzaren VII. Kongresua =​ VII Congreso de Estudios Vascos (7º.1948.Biarritz). Congresos de Estudios Vascos (7). Eusko Ikaskuntza, Donostia-San Sebastián, pp. 617-621. ISBN 84-8419-917-7
(online available here, it gives a description of the esfr-borderline until bm090 with specific bordermarkers mentioned)

DORNEL, Laurent
La frontière (le voisin) et l'étranger : les enjeux indentitaires d'un conflit frontalier
In: Revue d'histoire du XIXe siècle. - Numéro 24 (2002). p. 110-124
Online available at:
(This article is an analysis of the social-cultural impact of the nationalisation of the French society in the 19th century upon the Spanish and French rural communities on eitherside of the border, especially in valley of Baïgorry. It gives a description of the conflict in that valley but not of the establishment of the borderline or the bordermarkes.)

El conflicto de los alduides(pirineo Navarro): Estudio institucional de los problemas de límites, pastos y Facerías según la documentación inédita de los archivos franceses, siglos XVII-XIX
By Fernando de Arvizu y Galarraga, Fernando de Arvizu, Fernando Arvizu y Aguado, Jean Sermet
Edition: illustrated. - Published by Gobierno de Navarra, Departamento de Presidencia, 1992
ISBN 8423511316, 9788423511310. - 427 pages
(This book seems to be a revision of Jean Sermet's  thesis (doctoral)--Universidad de Toulouse I, 1990, under title: Le conflit des Aldudes. The valley of Los Aldudes is situated in the western Pyrenees to the south-west of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.)

Pyrénées de la Liberté 
Editions France Empire, 1983 and Editions Privat, 1998
(About the escape-routes in the Pyrenees in WWII)

Les feuilles du Pin à Crochets numéro 7 – Pyrenées frontières
Pau : Éditions du pin à crochets, 2006. – ISBN 2-911715-32-2
(This French magazine on the Pyrenees – with a literary style & design – published in 2006 is an edition on the border aspects of the Pyrenees. It contains 7 articles on a variety of Pyrenean border issues and is illustrated by lots of b&w pictures, including old pictures of borderpasses. You can still order this magazine:

See: MON pays, c'est la frontière

GARY, Alexandre
See: MON pays, c'est la frontière

La frontière franco-espagnole: Lieu de conflits interétatiques et de collaboration interrégionale. Journée d'études, Pau, 16 nov. 1996
Université de Pau et des pays de l'Adour. Centre d'études basques
Published by Presses Univ de Bordeaux, 1998
ISBN 2867812240, 9782867812248. - 164 pages
(The text is online available at : )

HIRSCHINGER, Jean and Simone Hondelatte
Les bornes frontières au Pays baque - bornes 1 à 262 de Hendaye au col de la Pierre Saint Martin - de borne en borne en prenant le temps du plaisir et le plaisir du temps
Dax, 2014 - a private publication
Jean Hirschinger and his partner Simone Hondelatte have since 2010 searched and photographed the bordermarkers of the Basque country: no. 1 to 262. They have now published their pictures and information on itineraries, maps, details in a marvellous and inspiring book. Have a look at their brochure and how to order it.

Histoire de la frontière, du Pays Basque à la Catalogne
Pyrénées Magazine, 30 april 2010
(A special edition - Pyrénées Histoire - of this magazine, devoted to the history of the esfr-border. With articles  on various aspects and one on the bordermarkers. Beautiful pictures.  In january 2011 still for sale on this site)

L'homme de la frontière : reportage réalisé par Luc Bazin
Coproduit par FR3sud, 1995. - 26 minutes. - en Beta SP
("the man of the border", a documentary on Jean Sermet, the geographer who "knew all the bordermarkers". It's available on dvd: mail Luc Bazin himself on . He will burn the documentary on a dvd, together with his other esfr-documentary "Patz Abant" (see further in this list). Expect to pay ± 30 euros for the dvd, excluding shipment charges)

Los mojones internacionales desde Biriatou hasta Arneguy : succinta guia para el acceso a los mojones 1 al 196 (de Chapitelaco-Arria a Pertole)
In: Bidasoako ikaskuntzen aldizkaria = Boletín de estudios del Bidasoa = Révue d'Études de la Bidassoa, ISSN 1575-6114, Nº. 16, 1998 , pags. 211-298
(Download as pdf (34mb) available on this site. An elaborate description of bm001 to 196: no pictures but exhaustive on history, typology, dimensions, locations, maps, directions etcetera. A tremendous work)

MAUREL, Joaquín Bosque
Jean Sermet, Geografo Andalucista
In: Cuadernos geográficos de la Universidad de Granada, ISSN 0210-5462, Nº 11, 1981 (Ejemplar dedicado a: Dedicado al Profesor Jean Sermet) , págs. 11-42
(An extensive article in Spanish on the scientific career of Jean Sermet but primarily focussing on his geographical interest for Spain. His efforts for the Pyrénéen border(markers) are briefly mentioned. The bibliography of his publications seems exhaustive. Online available as a .pdf at this weblink and locally on this site here )

MOLIA, Michel
Bornes Frontières des Pyrénées : Guide et Histoires
sept 2019
(Limited private publication. It describes his trips, gives practical advice and is a pleasure to read. In a way, it is a printed version of the ‘guide’-part of his website
You might email him ( if you are interested in a copy.)

MON pays, c'est la frontière
Directors: Alexandre Gary and Anne Fonteneau.
Paris : TF1, (broadcasted on) 15 febr. 15th 2015
(This is a fine documentary in the French series "Grand Reportages" of the TF1-network. It seems you cannot watch it anymore online or download it. If you are interested in a copy, mail me.
There are 6 storylines nicely intertwined. These stories are:
- Jean-Paul Laborie and Michel Bacchus finding bm379 and not finding bm364, Jean-Paul also engaged in repairing an unnumbered bordermarker on the new Pont du Roi near bm410.
I watched this storyline with special interest. Jean-Paul – a retired geography-professor – is an official delegate of the Pyrenean bordercommittee and Michel used to work for the IGN (French geographical institute). That they couldn’t find bm364 didn’t surprise me, it has been searched in vain by many others.
- A team of customs-officers chasing liquor and tobacco-smugglers coming from Andorra (a lot of manpower for small catches, I would say)
- a man fascinated by the derelict railway Pau – Canfranc (apparently it will be revived)
- a french haircutter running a hairdresser’s business in Llivia (Spanish females like colorful hair-dyes)
- about life in the “Pays Quint” with the venta above bm137 in the spotlights and a woman who has moved to this peculiar ‘binational’ territory
- and a French woman delivering her baby in the first cross-border hospital of Europe: the ‘Hôpital de Cerdagne’ in Puigcerda (but with a very large majority of Spanish workers)

MURRAY, David Seth
L'évolution des frontières de l'état français et de l'identité culturelle basque : perspectives anthropologiques
In: Lapardum, no. 8 (2003), p. 375-388
Online available at:
(This article gives a concise account of the Spanish-French conflict in the valley of Baïgorry in the 19th century and before. The settlement of the conflict by the Treaty of Elizonda of 1785 and finally by the Bayonne treaty of 1856, led to the peculiar status of the Pays Quint.)

Patz Abant, Paix dorénavant! - a documentary by Luc Bazin
Montpellier, A.R.I.S., cop. 1995. - 26 min. - coproduction of ARIS / ELLIPSE / FRANCE 3 Sud
(a nice documentary describing three trans-border phenomena in the Pyrenees: the centuries-old ceremony "le tribut de trois génisses" at Arette-la-Pierre-Saint-Martin, the transhumance of cattle near Py and the border-town of Le Perthus. Is still available on dvd -> see "L'homme" in this list.)

PLUJÀ, Arnald
La Cova Foradada (borne 602) conditions de l'accès : El Cap de Creus
Ballade n°6 page 30, (original in Catalan)
(apparently this article describes how to reach the cave with bordercross 602 at the Mediterranean floodline between Cerbère and Portbou.  This reference was found at this site: where a translation in French is indicated but not present)

Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees
("The Pyrenees boundary between France and Spain began in 1659 as a pretty arbitrary line, but over the course of the next two centuries it was worked out as a national border locally. Sahlins studied the Cerdanya, a valley in the Pyrenees split between France and Spain, and shows how localism formed national identities that were necessary for delineating the boundary" - Jim Hart at

SANCHO, Javier
En busco de los hitos fronterizos : rutas por la Muga / Javier Sancho.  - Pirineos Especial 9 –
El mundo de Pirineos. – junio 2010. – 147 p. / ISBN 978-84-8216-450-2
(This 'book' is in fact a special edition of the Spanish magazine. Javier Sancho describes 21 circular routes to bordermarkes – all along the esfr-border -with routes starting both in France and Spain. The maps could have been more elaborate but the photo’s are superb!
Javier and his wife María-Jesús Sancho-Esnaola searched and found every bordermarker in a pre-gps-time, an astonishing achievement. I know that they assembled 6 volumes of information and pictures on the esfr-bordermarkers. That makes one jealous, I would love to see those volumes!)

Abornement de la frontière du Departement de la Haut-Garonne / Commission Internationale des Pyrénées - Rapport au Prefet Inspecteur General. - 1957. - 9 pag.

"De quelques questions touchant l'Abornement frontalier 1949-1998"

Historique et conditions du franchissement touristique de la frontière franco-espagnole en haute montagne pyrénéenne
In: Pyrénées - Musée Pyrénéen. - Lourdes : Musée Pyrénées, 1968. - no.76, pag. 283-287
Île des Faisans, Île de la Conférence
In: Annales du Midi, 1961, LXXIII, p.325-345, 1 map

SERMET, Jean and L. Alija
Journal de la Restauration de l’Abornement de la Haute Garonne

La Commission Internationale des Pyrénées centenaire
In: Revue d'Histoie Diplomatique, 1976.- no.1-2, p.15-71

La Frontière hispano-française des Pyrénées: et les conditions de sa délimitation
Published by Amis du Livre Pyrénéen, 1983
ISBN 2853020843, 9782853020848. - 285 pages

Le Centenaire des Traités des Limites et la Commission Internationale des Pyrénées
Several editions:
- Paris : Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, 1969. - 23 pages.
- Luchon : Féderation des Societés Academiques et Savannes de Languedoc-Pyrénées-Gascogne, 1969. - Congrés d'Études Regionales
- In: Revue de Cominges, 1970. - LXXXIII, p.170-191

Le conflit des Aldudes. 
Universidad de Toulouse I, 1990. - doctoral thesis
(This thesis seems to be revised in:
El conflicto de los alduides(pirineo Navarro): Estudio institucional de los problemas de límites, pastos y Facerías según la documentación inédita de los archivos franceses, siglos XVII-XIX
By Fernando de Arvizu y Galarraga, Fernando de Arvizu, Fernando Arvizu y Aguado, Jean Sermet
Edition: illustrated. - Published by Gobierno de Navarra, Departamento de Presidencia, 1992
ISBN 8423511316, 9788423511310. - 427 pages)

Le franchissement de la frontière franco-espagnole en haute montagne
In: Rev. Pyrénéene, 1968. - no. 14, pag. 38-44

Le passage transpyrénéen de Lizuniaga à la frontière Nord-Ouest de Navarre
(an article online available here  which apparently is part of a larger but not yet identified publication. It covers the history of the passage of the pass of Lizuniaga in the Basque country and in detail of bm036 with its stone table. It includes old picture of bm036)

Le tricentenaire de la Paix des Pyrénées, 1659-1959
Published by Instituto de Estudios Pirenaicos, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1961

Les limites de 1785 du Valcarlos et le territoire d'Ondarolle cedé à l'Espagne
In: Pyrénées. - Lourdes : Musée Pyrénéen, 1977. - no. 109, p. 28-48

Les routes transpyrénéennes
Published by Société d'histoire des communications dans le Midi de la France, Comité régional de tourisme Midi-Pyrénées, 1965.- 328 pages

THOMAS, Lucien
Bornes frontière France/Espagne - Années 2010 - 2011 - 2012
Biarritz, 2013 (a private edition of only 40 copies)
(A photo-account of the bordermarkers 1 to 272 with large and clear pictures. Remarkable and admirable: Lucien Thomas was born in 1934 and started in 2010 (age 76) with this particular quest, together with his wife Colette, slightly younger)

VIGOR, Iñaki and Carlos Sanz
Travesía de los mugarris – La unión de los 276 hitos de la frontera vasca
Bilbo : Sua Edizioak, 2009
(this Spanish book - widely available on Spanish bookshop-sites - describes a 16-stages trail along each and every esfr-bordermarker from bm001 to bm272. Including elevation-charts, practical information, coordinates, lodging and a large scale map. The only thing I miss are topographical maps, there are only written directions of the trail to rely on.)