Memory in Aspe, an artwork for peace

These contemporary artworks invite you to discover the Aspe valley and the stories of its people during the First World War. They are inspired by real-life events and the fate of the Aspe villagers who served on the battlefront in 1914, the stories of their families who stayed behind, or those who crossed the valley during the war. These five pieces also serve as a testimony to the names and stories of the Aspe inhabitants who died in battle or were exiled. Through these memories, the stories of these young men who sacrificed their lives for their country remind us to remain vigilant and reflect on the current temptation to look inwards and be antagonistic towards the Other, which seems to be re-emerging throughout the world.


In 1914 and 1915, the Sarrance monastery welcomed refugees, mainly from Vosges, fleeing their villages and homes destroyed in the war…
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On 21 April 1914, the first section of the railroad linking France to Spain was inaugurated, much to the delight of the Aspe villagers…
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In May 1917, exhausted by thirty months of inhumane battles, the French soldiers refused to take orders from a hierarchy insensitive to their fate…
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Jean-Baptiste Lalhève, a First World war survivor, and his sons, Léon and Jean-Pierre, were all killed while in exile for smuggling during the Second World War….
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From 1914 onwards, the construction of the Pau-Canfranc railroad was halted. One of the site’s industrial facilities, the Eygun workshops, was converted into a wartime shell factory….
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