The Principality of Laàs en Béarn is an initiative of the mayor of Laàs, Jacques Pédehontaà. He first proposed the idea in August 2011 to protest against the administrative reforms of the French government.
The principality of Laàs is a French territory, under French law and subject to the French adminstrative and legal system. The principality's governance and bill or rights are defined in its constitution.
There are several political and sociological concepts in the Laasian dialect that reflect the context and the vision of the Principality. Below you will find an English and French translation of each, as well as an explanation of the concept:
- Nabere ruraletad (Neo-rurality/Néo-ruralité)
Neo-rurality refers to a vision of village life espousing the advantages of a lifestyle (hospitality, mutual aid, cultural identity, and engagement) conducive to the well-being of the citizens and the community of the Principality.
- Solidaritad (Solidarity/ La solidarité)
Solidarity, or mutual aid, is one of the cornerstones of public policy in Laàs. Solidarity is both the leitmotif and the fuel of multiple projects that have been put in place in the Principality over the years. The village chapel has been restored over a five-year period by several thousand scouts. The Castle and its grounds were renovated in a Concordia project by a group of thirty volunteers from all over the world. The Musical Transhumance of Laàs festival functions each year thanks to the active participation of over a hundred volunteers.
- Communautad (The Community/La communauté de Laàs)
A community is defined around perceptions of shared objectives and values. For the community of Laàs, this vision is anchored around the individual as a human being who shares a common vision to reinvigorate the planet’s villages and rural areas and to use them as theaters for a dynamic and attractive lifestyle designed to insure the well-being of its members.
- Parsa (The Territory/Le territoire)
Territory evokes the relationship between the citizens and an ubiquitous public space called the Principality. More than just the castle, the public space and the countryside, the territory evokes a vision of what the principality represents, as well as an image of its citizens; its lifestyle, and the outcomes of public policy.
- Les Fors (Direct democracy/ La démocratie directe)
Direct democracy refers to a citizen-centric political system in which the population takes an active role in determining its own future. This model, put in practice locally in the 11th century in Les Fors du Born is based on open discussion, debate and citizen initiatives that shape and guide political action inside the principality and in its relationships abroad.
- Uber aus autes (Hospitality/Le sens d’ouverture)
“Build borders open for all to enter » could well be the motto of the Principality. Independence isn’t a synonym for isolationism, but a condition of innovation and well-being. The Principality is a utopic vision open to all who share its values and objectives.
- Laàs – vivre et s’installer, Web Site
- Feltin-Palas, M. , Béarn : l'incroyable histoire du village qui se prend pour Monaco, L’Express, Sept 09 , 2014
- Gutmann, A. and Thompson, D. (2004). Why Deliberative Democracy?. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004
- Principauté de Laàs, Website
- Rivera Escribano, M., Neo-Rurality and the Different Meanings of the Countryside, Les mondes ruraux à l’épreuve des sciences sociales, 2007