Category Archives: News 2014

Bm196 buried again

Lucien Thomas revisited a few days ago bm196 and found that the “the poor thing” has been covered again. Bm196 has been buried for about 40 years, the last years being completely covered. In 2013 he was found again.



Lucien asks: what to do now? Well, I don’t know. Without any official involvement and reinstallment, this was bound to happen. I know that letters have been written to the municipalities on both sides of the border but nothing has happened so far.

The ‘bornés’ meet each other.

I was honoured to be invited on 12 april 2014 by Serge and Martine Poncet for an informal meeting of ‘bordermen’ or – mockingly in French – ‘bornés’ (freely translated as: stubborn on bordermarkers) who share a passion for the Pyrenean bordermarkers. Even a news-reporter was invited who wrote this article for the L’Indépendant-newspaper:  
article-independant-20140505   I felt happy to meet (again) Serge and Martine Poncet, Charles & Josette Darrieu, Alain Laridon, Cayetano and Jean & Carmen Iglesias while enjoying a delicious catalan-style meal. In the après-diner, I was lucky to sit in between the laptops of Serge and Charles, watching their pictures and listen to their stories, both testimonies of our shared passion.

Robert identifies the unidentified bordermarker!

unidentified-bordermarker-from-lucbazin-documentaryIn spring 2011 I received a documentary on Jean Sermet (“L’homme de la frontière”). Jean Sermet was an erudite French bordermarker-commissionary.In the documentary we see Jean Sermet while showing slides of bordermarkers. One slide puzzled me: no number or location was mentioned and I couldn’t identify the very spot or bordermarker.


But I think that Robert Darrieumerlou now has found the answer which he kindly shared with me. Between bm061 and 062 there’s the former venta Urtxola, just over the esfr-border in Spain and only accessible from France. As a young man, Robert used to frequent this place with his mates. Nowadays it’s a restaurant. In front of the restaurant there’s a local bordermarker with a S (Sare) and B (Baztan) on either side, there are more like these in this region. We found this one on 7 april 2009. Robert compared the various pictures and that’s pretty convincing! Judge for yourself:


unidentified-bordermarker-from-lucbazin-documentary-identified-by-darrieumerlou-comparisonAnd this comparison will show it even better: the building must be the same! Mystery solved, thank you Robert!



Fighting the blackberry

IMG_6591-cropMy faithful walking-trousers  served me a long time in the Pyrenees. But at april 9th they were finished, teared to rags when I tried to fight my way through blackberry. My car was just a short distance away at the hamlet of Can Damoun but I had to give up this shortcut.

That day I had done bm536-542 once again, exploring new routes. These  hills – south of Coustouges from ± bm522 to bm542 – are densely forested and silent, For me they remain mysterious and intriguing with their forgotten trails, ruined farms and chapels.

New website: the blog of Jacques Koleck!

Published today, Jacques Koleck surprised me with his blog: I thought he still preferred handwritten letters and hardcopy photos above the digital dimension.

Jacques is one of the most industrious and thorough bordermarker-researchers I know in the Pyrenees. At the age of 71 he started with his passion and at present – after 7 years – he has covered the Pyrenees from coast to coast. He doesn’t limit himself to the obvious well-numbered bordermarkers in the 1-602 range but has an open heart for the few hundred other unnumbered bordermarkers, varying from plain intermediate crosses and borderstones until demarcation plaques in bordertunnels. The blog has started with an intriguing “inventaire etc” cq counting of all the esfr-bordermarkers in a different approach than my counting.

The very first bordermarkers

Besides the more than 700 numbered bordermarkers between France and Spain, there are many intermediate markers in all kinds of shape. The indefatigable Jacques Koleck once again found new intermediate bordermarkers in the Basque country and I’m impatiently awaiting his pictures. But thanks to him I can already show you these old postcards, found on the internet. They show the international bridge between Hendaye and Irún.
First an overview on this postcard:

What you hardly can see, are the two posts in the middle of the bridge.

But this postcard shows them very clear. They must be the two posts with both arms of Spain and France which are mentioned in article 26 of the Bayonne treaty of 1856. As such they are the very first bordermarkers mentioned in the treaty!
Jacques adds: “they have disappeared on the renewed bridge (which however has plaques with the ancient province-names) but similar posts can now be seen on the pedestrian bridge next to it.”

Ancient bordermarker decaptivated

In automn last year I got this message from Lucien Thomas: the mediaval bordermarker besides bm036 has disappeared. That is to say: it was simply (and shamelessly) sawn from its base. See this article from the “Journal Sud-Ouest”:

Jacques Koleck sent me a picture of the current situation:

We can see what’s left over: the base. What also strikes: the famous table (see this webpage) has received an upgrade. The wooden logs have been replaced by stone banks which much have been done in 2011/2012.

Old postcards with bordermarkers

I was surprised by a collection of old postcards – emailed by Cayetano from Girona – with mainly the bordermarkers 574 and 575 on it. I will show you two of them.

We see bm574 and 575 on this peaceful scene. Bm574 was many years later replaced to the left to enlarge the space for the border-traffic. On its original place we now find a plaque with “bis” on it. See this webpage

And this one must be bm577

New update of “The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees”

I’m proud to announce a new update with a new series of GRPdesBF-stages from bm410 to 427.

And there are many more additions: check the update-log.